Breeding Philosophy

The Mumblebone breeding program combines early maturity and high fertility with exceptional wool quality.

Shearing

IMG_0480In 2016 we shore our sheep with 6 months wool.

This process fits very well with the ewe’s management and has shown to be very effective in reducing vegetable matter, increasing staple strength and increasing the condition score of the flock.

Wool grows more quickly in the first month off the board, with each successive month after that producing slightly less wool.

By shearing twice a year we are harvesting the fastest growing six months of growth, twice, which leads to 10-15% more wool per head. It’s also great for cash flow!


The Wool

Wool quality is a feature of the Mumblebone sheep.

Our ewes cut good weights of long, soft, bold crimping, white, SRS® wool, grown from a skin that is completely free of skin wrinkle.

Wool that is well aligned and well nourished is not susceptible to fleece rot or flystrike.

As a result, we have not had to spend time or money applying chemicals to our sheep to prevent these problems.


Carcase Traits

Eye Muscle Depth (EMD) and Fat Cover (FAT) are two traits that Mumblebone rams have become well known for. Muscle and Fat form the genetic energy reserve an animal draws on when under pressure.

sheeproadMuscle can be measured subjectively by pressing your fingers over the strips of meat that run along the spine. Fat can be measured subjectively by running your fingers over the short ribs. The larger the Muscle, and the better the Fat cover, the better the total condition score of an animal.

Genetically increasing the condition score of an animal is to breed in the ability of that animal to resist a challenge. The common challenges come in the form of poor nutrition during long Summer’s or droughts, and during lambing. Other challenges may include, worm burdens, cold winters, a significant change in season, ie dry grass to green pick, foot scald, extended periods in yards and so on.

If a number of these challenges are combined, ie shearing pregnant ewes during a drought, then the ability of that animal, or flock, to withstand that challenge will be seriously tested. Animals with high levels of Fat and Muscle are predisposed to maintaining their condition when challenged, and, to recovering any lost condition quickly.

Animals with low levels of Muscle and Fat will loose condition quickly and also be very slow to recover that lost condition. It is by design that we have built a reputation for good doing sheep!


Fertility

Without reproduction, there is no production. An animal must be able to reproduce itself and the Mumblebone sheep are very good at that!

fertiilityOur ewes are scanned every year to identify twin bearers and dry’s with all dry ewes removed from the flock, including maidens. No ewe is given a second chance.

Twin bearing ewes are lambed down in mobs of 100, with enough grass to keep them in good order throughout lambing. Doing this has lifted our conversion of foetuses in twin bearing mobs to over 170% from a potential of 200%, which equates to an extra 15% of lambs across the whole joining.

More lambs at marking time, combined with high lamb survival, means more lambs at classing time, and extra classing pressure has seen the genetic progress of our sheep really take off. With the extra numbers, we now class out over 40% of our maiden ewes.

Extra numbers also allows us to sell our surplus ewes at 5.5 years instead of 6.5 years, making them more attractive to the re-stocker and terminal breeder.


Early Maturity

Early growth allows wether lambs to reach a saleable weight earlier and for ewe lambs to reach a joinable weight earlier.

IMG_0232The kilo’s gained in the first 12 months are the most valuable kilos of the sheep’s life, and Post Weaning Weight (PWWT) is an important trait to drive this.

There are huge gains to be made by having ewe lambs conceive at 7-8 months of age. Early conception:

  • Drive’s natural selection for growth and fertility
  • Increases selection pressure at classing time
  • Increases the value of surplus ewes by reducing the age of ewes offered for sale

There are a number of Mumblebone clients who are joining their ewe lambs at 8 months of age and achieving conception rates of 60% with marking rates from those ewes of over 100% – a significant lift to the productivity of a Merino enterprise.

When managed according to their needs, these same ewes are all re-conceiving the following year and continue to display outstanding maternal instincts.

“Those who say it can’t be done should get out of the way of those already doing it!”


IMGP0657Mulesing

We stopped mulesing in 2006 as our sheep no longer need to be mulesed.

Mulesing continues to be an issue for the industry but our position on the matter is very clear.