The Dohne is the Better Feed Converter - Don McKenzie - Jun 2018

Well , what a year we have had to date. The sheep industry is hanging on better than most and the Dohne breed is showing its true colours in tough and trying times.

My breeding program revolves around the Dohne, for their carcase, and Poll merino's for extra wool production. With the feeding of our rams it is quite obvious that the Dohne is by far the better feed converter being in condition 3-4 compared to the merino  of a score of 2-3.

Twenty odd years ago I made the decision to change our breeding program around to try and get away from the grass seed problem  and VM in our wool. We join in October -November and lamb down early so that we shear  in August to get the lambs out of the barley grass problem. It has certainly  worked as since we made the change I do not think that we have grown any barley grass.

I do not scan my ewes instead we wet and dry at marking time and anything that does not have a lamb goes then. I have just weaned my lambs into a lock up situation and have ended up with 86% from joining to weaning and am very happy with that considering the year.

The lambs are on a mix of hay, cottonseed, barley, beans and by-pass with rumensin and lime. They have adjusted well with a few eye problems and it is becoming clear which lambs have the stronger Dohne gene. Last years lambs were turned off at 11 months of age at an average weight of 26kg on the hook to Thomas Int. in Tamworth.

I hope for all of our sakes that it rains sooner than later but with the ram selection and sale period coming up it will make it a very difficult decision to go out and buy rams this year if we cannot see our way clear to join going into the future the way conditions are at the moment.

With Calga having had less rain over the last two years than what I have had then it is a credit to the team to keep on producing the rams that they have and so lets hope that rain comes for everyone sooner than later.