Genetics

Gracemere is committed to breeding Merino sheep that are a modern dual purpose Merino. They are large framed, plain bodied sheep with good doing ability, producing high lambing percentages, whilst cutting a flock average of 6kgs of 19m wool that is deeply crimped. These deeply crimped wools are deceptive and test finer than they look.

 

The stud was originally founded by Rick's father Geoff in 1970 with the purchase of cfa Special Stud ewes from both Haddon Rig and the dispersal of the Chatsworth House Merino Stud. The breeding aims in 1970 were to breed high producing, good quality medium fine wool sheep with the ability to thrive under relatively difficult grazing conditions for Merino sheep, which are typical throughout South Eastern Australia. Because of the nature of the soils on the sand plain area where Gracemere is situated, it was recognised at the the beginning that this required a special selection emphasis for soft pliable, waxy wools to optimise fleece weights whilst lowering microns.

 

Rick and Jenny feel it is of paramount importance for their sheep to perform well in a commercial environment.

 

Sandy MacKirdy classed for over 30 years retiring in 2010. Together, Rick, Geoff and Sandy have adopted relevant technology and associated measurements  to evaluate and enhance their progress to ensure that there is continous improvement.  Since then Rick does all the classing.

 

In recent years they have used Pooginook genetics to further their aim of producing the "balanced" type of Merino that has the characteristics of fat, muscle, fertility with a fine fleece. This type of sheep has a plain body, with long stapled wool that has a well defined crimp and a good doing ability.

 

In 2017 Rick had the Flock Profile DNA done - This is a new test that records the DNA profile of a flock that show in the ASBV figures, how the flock compares to the National database of all the Merino Studs in Australia for the features of yearling and adult growth rates, fat and muscle scores, wool micron, length and fleece weight. Their samples were taken from the unclassed ewe weaners, so the stud statistics would be considerably higher again.