Clarrie Doyle from Bendemeer Enjoys Successful Meat Breeding Merinos | Pictures | the earth

The wool market crash in the early 1990s caused producers across the country to reassess their operations, none more so than Clary Doyle of New England.

After nearly two decades working as a woolmaker and manager, the Mungindi native decided to put his roots down in one of the most prominent Merino breeding grounds in the state.

However, after experiencing hard times firsthand, Mr. Doyle saw the writing on the wall when it came to wool-bred sheep and decided to take a different path.

He wanted to raise a Merino animal that would have a greater focus on meat production, while not completely sacrificing wool productivity, as well as sheep that could thrive in the cold and hot New England climate of northwest NSW.

It has taken more than 20 years of trial and error at his property in Bendemeer, Danbury, but Mr Doyle believes he has found the right balance with his current herd of around 1,200 head.

“I started raising them around 1998 and I was one of about 12 breeders across Australia, who were doing it at the time, and since then everyone has gone their own ways and I may be one of the last, if not the last breeder left,” he said. Mr. Doyle the earth.

“I wanted to see if there was an option to get merino that could still provide high quality wool, while still mostly lamb.

“For me, I really wanted to see the Merino industry move forward and I wanted to explore if this could be an option and I think it’s definitely a viable option.”

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Mr Doyle, who has worked in the sheep industry all his life in both New South Wales and Queensland, said he was very particular about the breeds he would base his flock on and that “it’s all about selection”.

“These sheep come from the base of the Haddon Rig and they all have one degree of crease,” he said. “We started with a bit of SRS strains, then a Rambouillet, then a compound ram and on a crossover from a White Suffolk plus a small percentage of White Dorper in it as well, to help get that solid.

“It’s taken a long time to get them to this point and selection plays a major role in that, if something doesn’t quite fit, we’ll just look to rule it out.

“We have sheep that go to places like Wemilah, in northwest New South Wales, to Queensland like Melmerin and Iolo, while some have gone to the Eyre Peninsula, which means we’re trying to keep a mobile and adaptable sheep that can not only thrive in cold New England, but In warmer places, too.”

As the herd’s wool has continued to improve over the years, Mr. Doyle said it has opened up other business opportunities, while the easy care of the breed has also provided savings to the bottom line of the operation, which also includes some livestock.

“It’s really hard to get to the mowers these days and I’m really fortunate to have a strong shearing team that’s been with me for years and I think that’s because the sheep are easy to handle and the team knows what to expect,” he said. .

“I also don’t have to use chemicals on these sheep, and our rate of flies as of this year, where they are very prevalent, is still only 0.5 percent.

“Ewes now grow at a rate of 12-15 mm per month, while six-month-old virgins cut 76 mm at 18 μm, plus a median rest factor of 99.82.

“Furthermore, we’ve been selling lambs to Westdale Family Meats in Tamworth, and the toothed lamb is a nice-tasting meat. If you look at the end result and what it gets per acre, I think it’s very profitable compared to a lot of other options.”

Gemalung Wall Regional Director Tim Drury, Tamworth, said that while it was difficult for dual-purpose sheep keepers to “get everything 100% where you want it”, Mr. Doyle’s flock was of high quality.

“Clarry has put his wool on very well and this year has been a really good test for him with all the tall grass and heavy rain we’ve seen,” said Drury.

“Despite all these challenges, I kept very good color and the decapitation was also very good.”

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