Wether Trial monitors the quality of sheep

Half way there: the hard work of shearing has happened. Now the computere needs to do the work.

Half way there: the hard work of shearing has happened. Now the computere needs to do the work.

The results are being processed for the Northern Tablelands Wether Trial Shearing Day held at the Glen Innes Agricultural Station at the end of last month. 

Thirty-nine teams of merinoa sheep (with ten animals in each) were tested to see which blood-lines were performing well.

The process is important to agriculture in the area because it allows sheep farmers to assess results without having to spend thousands of dollars on, say, a new ram. Sheep are sheared and analysed on a set of objective criteria like weight, yield, strength of wool. 

It is competitive in that different farmers can compare their flocks with others but the prime use is for them to then work out what is successful and what is not through the comparisons.

As Northern Tablelands Local Land Services put it: “The three year long wether trial – a collaboration between Northern Tablelands Local Land Services and NSW Department of Primary Industries - allows local breeders to benchmark the performance of their flocks against other producers in the district.”

A wether is a castrated male sheep.

The Wether Trial system has been going on locally since 1979 with new sets of animals taking over every three years. It’s a scientifically robust way of measuring improvements and what might have caused them so that further improvement can be made.

Brent McLeod from the Local Land Services said: "We've collected the data but we haven't put them through the software yet". The first shearing of this batch was last year.

Separately, the Northern Tablelands Local Land Services is holding a “rabbit control field day” on Tuesday at 5 pm.It’s to be held at "Naalong", 52 Wilson Road in Glen Innes.

The organisers say the discussion will involve “rabbit control methods including: Warren Ripping, Fumigating, Trapping, Advice on laying bait trails (Pindone) and Explosives demonstration (to destroy warrens) subject to conditions.”

And in a third development of interest to farmers wanting to say ahead of the market, the Agribusiness Development Institute is to hold a “webinar” – a seminar over the internet – on “How to develop an effective business plan”. It’s scheduled for Thursday from 7 pm to 8 pm.

Glen Inness National Resources Advisory Committee said: “Having a business plan is an absolute necessity regardless of the size or complexity of your business, or whether you are starting a new business or have been operating for 20 years.”