Tocal College

Last year we had 1268mm of rain on our sheep. No fly strike on the Dohne sheep 1 XB lamb with fly on the tail. We marked 117% lambs in the Dohne ewes and 107% in our 1st x ewes.

Sale of store Dohne wether lambs 45@$70 av and store mixed sex XB lambs 95 @ $105 av. Wool sales Dohne flc 1477 clean = $3135, pcs 1318 clean = $1054 and XB 734 clean = $772. BC Dohne lambs and oddments $2865 and XB BC $1255. The 2 flocks are at about the same numbers at the moment for comparison. To date we haven’t culled many Dohne ewe lambs.

This year the students and I will select the top line of the Dohne ewes to breed on Tocal and put them to the new Dohne rams and put the older rams with the Roseville Park ewes. The Dohne ewes that we grade out will go with the XB ewes to have a prime lamb. This year will be the last year of our 1st x ewes they are still sound mouthed at 10 years of age. Next year the Dohne self replacing flock will be large enough to carry on without buying any ewes. At this stage we will probably always have Dorset to put over the 2nd grade Dohne ewes.

At Tocal College the students are involved in all aspects of the sheep program. The self replacing flock is a great teaching tool. Breeding, wool and meat. To date the Dohne ewes handle the wet to the same degree as the 1st x ewes do with better learning outcomes of the students and better income for the college.

Robert Dunn
Farm Mechanisation Lecturer
Tocal College

DOHNES IMPROVE THE KUHL FAMILY FLOCK

By Mark Griggs

The introduction of Dohne rams to the Kuhl family's prime lamb enterprise has increased the size of lambs and annual wool clip return while fertility has also jumped lambing percentages from 85 to 225 per cent. When replacement Merino ewes were considered too expensive several years ago, the family decided to re-think their first cross breeding base. Braelee Partnership at “Braelee”, Mount Gambier, South Australia, was joining Border Leicester and Coopworth rams to Merino ewes to produce first cross ewes which were then joined to Poll Dorsets for terminal second cross lamb production. "We were buying upwards of 600 Merino ewes each year and the prices at the time were quite high," David Kuhl said. "So we sought an alternative and decided to breed our own replacements." Their agent, Mike Crooks of the Australian Wool Network, recommended Dohne and the Kuhls haven’t looked back.

The partnership consists of Lance and Virginia Kuhl and two sons, David (and Michelle), and Phillip (and Nancy) and their young families who operate the lamb enterprise alongside an Illawarra stud dairy milking from 150 to 160 cows twice daily on a total of 700 hectares of which 120ha is irrigated. "Braelee" is enriched by sandy loam on gently sloping to flat country in an 800 millimetre average rainfall region between Mt Gambler and Penola. David's grandfather (Alf) moved to the area in 1939 when David's father was just 10 years of age. They grew potatoes and began milking while building up their enterprises. "Dad loved his lllawarras and showed them at Adelaide Royal and the local shows," David Kuhl said. From the 1960s to the 1980s Lance Kuhl and his two brothers were shearing 25,000 sheep and milked close to 80 cows. After David left school in 1986 he did an Al course and "kicked" the dairy herd along, recording and registering the cattle.

Today the partnership joins 3500 ewes including the crossbreds they are phasing out. David Kuhl said he had purchased a dozen Roseville Park stud rams over the four year period which had increased the family's sheep returns immensely. "We join the Dohne rams to our six and seven year-old first cross (Border Leicester or Coopworth/Merino) ewes," he said. The number varies but the six year-olds and all sound mouth seven year-olds total close to 750 head. “The Dohnes have really made a difference. These old ewes are producing 125 per cent lambing rates.” By eliminating Merinos Mr Kuhl said their lambing percentages had risen from 85 to 125pc. And while he says it is a lamb production enterprise, the family's wool clip has also Increased In value. "The flock has become dual-purpose and as long as this is not detrimental to prime lamb production, we will continue and take the bonuses," he said. "We've bred crossbred wool for ages and it's hard to 'tart' it up,” he said. “So you take what you can get for it." But since putting Dohnes over their crossbred ewes, the micron has dropped considerably. “We've worked it out at being $400 to $500 a bale better off,” he said. “That all adds up over time." The Dohne cross wool last year (2012 shearing) was down to 23 micron and lamb's wool at 21.8 micron sold last week at 750 cents/kg greasy. "We are looking forward to having a full clip of Dohne wool,” Mr Kuhl said. Several noticeable traits Mr Kuhl has found with the Dohnes is that the rams are very virile and the ewes are very fertile and maternal. "I've ridden through paddocks in 100 degree temperatures and the rams are active," he said. “Heat doesn't stop them.” When it comes to the ewes, the Kuhls join mid-December for a May/ June lambing and they are seeing a lot of twins and triplets.

"We're traditional farmers and go round our paddocks every day and twice a day when ewes are lambing,” Mr Kuhl said. "You had to be careful not to disturb the Merinos because they would run off and leave their lamb, then miss-mother. But with the Dohnes you can charge through them with a brass band and it wouldn't make any difference. "They are excellent mothers and that's good as we run of dairy heifers on the dryland paddocks and they are inquisitive creatures." He said the heifers didn't seem to bother the Dohne mothers while it was always a problem with Merinos.

Lance and David Kuhl are most impressed with their Dohne infused crossbred ewes which are producing bigger lambs, more saleable wool and greater lambing percentages at “Braelee”, Mount Gambier, South Australia. "The lambs are very comparable to Dorset crosses." David Kuhl said. "I shear all my Dohne wether lambs and don't offer them as suckers letting them grow out. “But we rarely have to shear them twice. '"That's a good indication they do very well after the coats come off." After shearing in late November the lambs are run on summer forage crop or dryland crop through the summer months. "They really do well.”

As the property is in high rainfall country, the Kuhls specified an emphasis on sound shoulders and feet when rams were selected for them from Roseville Park stud, near Dubbo. "The rams we have used over the past four years have done a very good job for us.” Crossbred wool has improved with the clip dropping to 23 micron and lamb's wool down at 21.8 micron. Mr Kuhl said lamb's wool sold last week made 750 cents/kg greasy, so the Dohnes have increased the value of the woolclip by some $400 to $500 a bale on top of the bigger lamb production.

DOHNE IN FLOODS AND DROUGHT

FLOOD: I received a very interesting phone call from Ranald Warby from Barrakee after the 2012 floods in Mungindie, Ranald had to move his Dohne Ewes and Weaners through at least 14 inches of flood water to higher ground, 1km away. He called to let me know how good the Dohne Sheep were! His words, “Graham, I am fascinated by the intelligence of the Dohne ewes and weaners, do you know they travelled in a straight direction in a orderly fashion but spread out enough so they were not in just one line to safety!”

Barrakee has been purchasing Dohne Rams at our on property sale every year for the last 10 years and now is selecting the Dohne rams for higher fleece weight EBV's as Ranald said. the “Dohne body looks after itself".

Ranald Warby Barrakee Mungindie 02 8753 7288

Coddington Uardry
Hamilton Ram Sale

in conjunction with Roseville Park

30th October
Hamilton Showground

New Catalogue Here!

Catalogue

Sale commencing 11am
Inspection from 9.30am

Enquiries for

Stud, Flock Rams & Ewes
throughout the year.
Please call Graham: 0428 638 129