Merino flock on market

Headshot of Shannon Smith
Shannon SmithGreat Southern Herald
Katanning Research Facility farm manager Gavin D’Adhemar with the Rylington Merino flock.
Camera IconKatanning Research Facility farm manager Gavin D’Adhemar with the Rylington Merino flock. Credit: Supplied

One of Australia’s leading merino research flocks is up for sale in Katanning.

Owned by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, the Rylington merino flock was developed in 1988 when there were serious concerns about the effect of worms on the industry.

Consisting of 432 adult ewes and 21 rams, it is the most resistant merino flock in the country.

DPIRD livestock research director Bruce Mullan said the flock had played a vital role in the industry.

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His team would now focus of feed efficiency research at the near-complete Katanning facility.

“Over the years, this flock has contributed significantly to our understanding of the underlying genetic and physiological mechanisms of worm resistance,” Mr Mullan said.

“It has helped the department make crucial contributions in developing recording and measurement protocols of faecal worm egg counts, used to assess intestinal worm burdens in sheep, for the WA environment.

“The research demonstrated that it was feasible to breed worm-resistant sheep and developed the methodology for Australian sheep breeding values, which are now available to all sheep producers, to breed sheep that are genetically resistant to internal parasites.

“It also showed the production and management benefits of having worm-resistant sheep compared to non-worm-resistant sheep with the same genetic potential.”

The flock was established with donated ewes and was originally based in Boyup Brook before moving to Mt Barker in 1998, then the Katanning Research Facility in 2015.

DPIRD senior geneticist Johan Greeff said they bred the flock because the available drenches were becoming less effective.

The flock will be sold on a tender basis, closing on February 28.

For details, call Katanning Research Facility farm manager Gavin D’Adhemar on 0427 082 203.

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