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Merinos lowest risk enterprise - Kerin Poll

  • By: Farm Tender "Prime"
  • Jan 29, 2018

Kerin Poll is an exciting new producer of Poll Merino genetics, defying trends in the wider Merino industry.

After nine years of benchmarking in both feast and famine, our Merino enterprise consistently achieves the highest benchmarked return of all our enterprises (Merino breeding, winter cropping, composite sheep breeding, cattle trading), per hectare per hundred millilitres of rain.

We’ve refined our Merino operation to now represent our lowest risk enterprise, in all seasons.

The popular notion that Merinos are hard work does not hold water for our sheep.

The figures speak for themselves:
*   The biggest profit driver is the number of lambs weaned – the Kerin Poll flock has a 10-year rolling average lambing percentage of 142%
*   For 21 years, we've culled every ewe that hasn't raised a lamb, and we have zero tolerance for suint in our sheep
*   No money or labour spent applying Clik or Vetrazin to get rid of bloody maggots! It’s been eight years since we applied these chemicals on our sheep
*   Growth rates in our wether lambs that equal terminal-bred lambs  
*   In our latest benchmarking results (2011/12), we accomplished a gross margin of $59/DSE. Visit the Profit and Benchmarking page of this website for more detail on our benchmarking results.

What’s driving this?
We have accepted that less is more, and we make more money per hectare with less sheep—our way of dealing with climate variability.

We’ve just kept picking the low-hanging fruit by:
*   In 1990 our fleeces averaged 22.5-micron, and in 2012 they averaged 19.8-micron, flock ewes 7.1kg, stud ewes 8-9kg (annualised) stocking rate to carrying capacity to eliminate drought feeding
*   Breeding a low maintenance sheep – more DSEs run per full-time labour unit
*   High fertility - ewes that not only have lambs but raise them too!
*   Quick maturing – all wether lambs able to be sold over-the-hooks by eight to 10 months old
*   Ewe lambs reach conception weight of 43kg at seven months old, and are joined at this time
*   Producing bright white, suint-free wools to reduce a reliance on chemicals, eg: Clik, Vetrazin
*   Our surplus ewes are in high demand by prime lamb breeders because of their large, plain bodies, high growth rates and fertility. Kerin Poll ewes carry exceptional length of loin and butt shapes not common in Merinos
*    Five-week joining.

Kerin Poll places a large emphasis on the maternal aspect of the Merino to drive high lambing percentages. The more units you have to sell, the more money you will make.