In October 2018 Mulga Springs began participating in a national project funded by AWI and delivered by the UNE’s Dr Emma Doyle.
Shearing at 6 monthly intervals has not been considered until recently, due to discounts on short staple length. However the market indicators show that carding wools are achieving comparable prices and more producers are choosing to shear more frequently than every 12 months. The project will investigate the merits and gains achieved by shearing 6 monthly on wool quality and quantity, improved reproduction and the financial incentives of changing shearing interval.
We are now in the final stage of the project and will be doing our final shearing in October. Up to this point, 6 month shearing has shown some benefits including:
· 100g/hd more wool in 2019
· Lambs weaned 1.6kg heavier from 6 month shorn ewes
· 6 month ewes scanned in lamb with 20% higher potential. Conception seems overall to be improved if shorn prior to joining.
· Overall 6 month ewes made $1.34/hd/yr in wool after costs taken out.
At the final shearing we will be collecting BCS and fleece weights of the two different shearing groups. We will also collect weaning weights of the two different groups of lambs (see picture below).
Is 6 month shearing worth it? Hard to say after one year of data, we will definitely consider after we finish the project and get all the results. Stay tuned.