Our merino flock is based on indexed ewes from Geelong Park and Roxby (2002). Indexed rams and semen have been used for many years. Recent semen introduced comes from Hazeldean, Windarra, Billandri, Stockman and Rocklyn. There is an open nucleus of selected ewes used for individual matings to breed rams.
Kia Ora, 040058 was ranked in the All Time Top 50 Sires on DP+ index (for sires entered between 1989 and 2013).
We use a data manager and ASBVs (SGA Merino Select) to ensure we have the data for targeted breeding decisions and to provide validated indexes for clients when selecting rams. We sell surplus rams privately from February to March and have sold semen to WA, QLD, SA and Victorian clients.
Breeding Objective: to hold micron (adult average 17.5) and increase staple strength and fleece weight (>6kgs adult average) whilst continuing to select sound, solid, fertile sheep.
Since 2013 we have moved from the 3.5%+WEC to 5% + SS to redistribute the selection pressure to increase staple strength and wool cut with the micron held and a slight increase in body weight and number of lambs weaned.
The 5%+SS index is used for initial selection and then we class on body structure and wool traits – there is no tolerance for unsourable color, wool rot or poor character wool.
As such we consistently have soft handling, sound, bright wool that is keenly sought. The successful bidder for our wool is usually New England Wool (Successori Reda Spa and Vitale Barberis Canonico Spa, Italy) or Schneider Group. They are leading names in the processing and trading of fine wool and providing superior and consistent product.
Why is Kia Ora not using one of the standard MERINOSELECT indexes?
We have worked through a process where we applied the outcomes from the standard MERINOSELECT indexes (MP+, FP+ and DP+) and compared these to the previously used indexes. Based on our commercial sheep production and the last 5 year average wool price the 5%+SS index produces higher projected returns.
These are exciting times for Kia Ora Merino with the genetic gains made being quantifiable and we will continue to push our program to deliver more.
To ensure that we maintain our disease free status we have kept a closed flock since 2003 with new genetics only being obtained through (frozen semen) artificial insemination.