At Bundemar we are aiming to breed the best quality, productive and manageable merino sheep. My view is we should grow wool of the best spinning quality and as much of it as we can, on a balanced dual purposed animal that can thrive in our individual environmental conditions.
Since 2010 we have also targeted and specially selected animals into the ‘Brown-Tag’ Bare Breech family, looking to add a management and marketing advantage to our animals and wool. Our Bare Breech family have developed with exceptionally well-nourished wools and a distinct Bare Strip below the tail and inside the crutch and a Bare scrotum on the rams. To this point sires have not been made available for public sale as, while the Bare Breech is very heritable, long-term wool production is being stabilised.
The need for a productive bare breech Merino is imperative to further advance the great Merino breed for those looking for a dual-purpose animal, BUT the sheep needs a productive skin to remain profitable in the future market, while adding the Non Mulesed appeal that some end users of our great wool require.
I don’t believe you can consider yourself a merino stud if you don’t have the genetic ability to increase wool cut when required. Up until now, the only guarantee I could give is that I can take the wool off to give you a bare breech. The biggest problem being the loss of underline (or wool coverage underneath). If you put a ram with no underline over a ewe with no underline you can’t expect to fix the problem, it just keeps creeping upwards. You can try to fix things with corrective joining, but characteristics are only stable when they come from both ewe and ram. That creates your type and you breed the trait in. In the same way, you can breed a fault in, so you need to keep your eyes open and spot the indicators to which direction your breeding is going before you get there, desired or not.
For this reason, the desired trait needs to be strong enough without being associated with other genetic faults before you start line breeding. I believe once we have lock, nourishment and finish with a genetic bare breech we can then proceed to plain them up if required for a commercial non-mules operation.
But the stud needs to retain the ability to put wool on if required, you can’t just keep taking wool off every generation – you need to know how you’re going to maintain wool cut.
BB SIRE: Woolworth