How do the rams look?
It’s common for “stud” breeders to make the claim – this year’s rams are the best we have ever bred. Mostly makes me laugh a bit. Invariably this comment is made from a visual perspective, but really, can anyone visually recall a group of rams from 12 months ago well enough to say they are better than this year’s? Let alone all the groups of rams, one has bred over many years. Realistically, the only way is with at least some form of measurement.
We always weigh the rams before cataloguing them for sale – usually 3-4 weeks before the sale. This year’s rams are as heavy as we have had them, but they aren’t huge frame score rams. We don’t select for great big rams, so having heavy rams in itself isn’t what we are looking for. What we are selecting for is fast early growth and maturity. Our best rams have reached around 90% of their maximum weight well before they are 12 months old. Our targets is 50 kg at 100 days – not 150 kg at 18 months, Benchmark if 1/3 to half the rams weigh 100kg at this pre sale weight, the sale rams will look usually look pretty good.
This year’s group of 277 rams weighed on August 10 averaged just over 105 kg, so taking about 90 out of them, and they are going to look fantastic. About a quarter of the rams are spring droppers, and the oldest ram was born 14/06. No grain at all other than a small amount of lupins for the spring drop in February.
I know it’s been a good year for the rams – good spring last year and dryish winter, and good grazing crops, but I think our selection for rams (and so your lambs) that do it easy in the paddock is really paying dividends.