MELVIN and Lyn Schorer have lambing percentages to die for in a Merino flock.
It won’t surprise anyone that knows Melvin that he was initially reluctant to appear on the front cover of Farm Weekly, but after a bit of pestering and grovelling, he finally agreed.
It’s a story worth telling.
When asked about the history of the Schorer family in Wandering, Melvin was unsure about the exact year his ancestors moved to the area saying only that he and his brother Neil are the third generation on the family farm.
For historical information, he refers to a book titled ‘The Horses Come First’, written by his uncle, Albert Schorer, whose father John migrated from England in 1867.
When told that I had passed Schorer Road on my way through Wandering, Melvin laughed and said “yeah, that road leads to the town cemetery, so I think we got stitched up there”.
Farming alongside Neil and his partner Peta on the family farm in Wandering, last year Melvin and Lyn’s 6500-head Merino operation managed a lambing percentage of 128 per cent across the second lambers and above (out of 140pc scanned) with 119pc in their maiden ewes.
The day before I visited them on-farm for this article they had scanned this year’s maiden ewes.
Out of 514 ewes mated to Merino, they had pregnancy tested at 128pc with only 36 dry.
Having heard farm consultants at field days talk about the possibility of lambing percentages in Merino flocks approaching this range before but having never seen it for myself, I had always imagined it involved a ruthless culling program and a decade of hard work but when asked, Melvin didn’t seem to think it was that difficult to achieve.
“We’ve never culled overly hard and I’ve kept our dry maidens for the past couple of years to be given another chance,” Melvin said.
“I think it’s probably more to do with how we feed them and some genetics.”
Which brings me to the point of my visit.
Melvin and Lyn have fed Milne EasyOne and EasyLick since about 2009, initially to finish off lambs.
Melvin started feeding pellets only in 2011 after the January storm, making them one of the earliest users of the Milne Easy products.
“We sell all our grain and only feed EasyOne now,” Melvin said.
“We haven’t fed any grain since 2011 and only EasyOne for the past six years.
“The other thing we do which I think has been really important is feeding them every second day without fail.”
While driving around the farm I asked Melvin if it was worthwhile feeding 100pc EasyOne as most people acknowledge that feeding EasyOne is far superior to grain feeding but were wary of the cost involved.
Melvin has no doubts it is worth the spend saying they get it back in their lambs.
“Not just in the higher lambing percentages but the lambs are stronger and healthier as well,” he said.
Melvin and Lyn also grow enough wool to shear every six months which further boosts their return on investment in EasyOne, notwithstanding the role played by genetics in wool production.
Talking about their early use of pellets Melvin and Lyn said they tried another brand of pellet prior to 2009 but found they couldn’t wean their sheep onto them.
“With EasyOne we can go hard because you don’t have to be concerned with induction periods as with other products being too hot,” Melvin said.
“We tried EasyOne and EasyLick after using other products and we’ve been using them ever since.”
After feeding EasyLick through lick feeders, Melvin and Lyn have more recently moved to trail feeding the larger EasyOne pellet instead.
“We had some issues with lick feeders while I was busy seeding which resulted in some mismothering and lamb losses so I’ve gone back to trail feeding every two days and haven’t had a problem since,” Melvin said.
In other news, the winner of four tonnes of Milne EasyOne pellets drawn from attendees at the recent feed field days run in conjunction with Advantage Feeders is Peter Cumming, from Wagin, who was presented with his prize at Wagin Woolarama (see photo).
Thank you to all the attendees for making the field days so popular.
p For information about EasyOne or EasyLick products give Dean Toovey a call on 0428 409 246 or visit milne.com.au