October Newsletter

1st November 2016

The Gates Performance Genetics News - by Rick Gates

I would like to introduce Sam’s partner Emma Corcoran who we have employed for several days of the week to assist in the office and outside with stock work.

I think most of us are now experiencing one of the best seasons for several years, I know this is our first good spring after 3 failed springs, it’s also great to experience lamb, mutton and beef prices where they are, I am pretty sure we will see a price correction, possibly 20% for kill cattle but I think lamb prices will be less volatile.

I was at a sheep and lamb sale recently and it was great to see all the producers with a smile on their faces, and so they should have after recently selling lambs for $150.00 to $180.00.  I did notice one fellow who had an exceptional smile on his face, he was a client of ours and has been buying White Suffolk (WS) and Maternal Composite (MC) rams from Gates Performance Genetics (GPG) for several years now, after the sale I caught up with him and asked him why he wore such a big smile, he replied that he had realised that this year due to the use of Gates Performance Genetics MC rams that he would not have to go out and buy replacement ewes at current prices most probably $250.00+ per hd. He was over the moon when I told him that this year based on current store lamb prices our maiden ewes (joined at 7 to 8 months) would generate a Gross income of approximately $200.00 per ewe from wool and lamb by the time they are cutting their 2 teeth or 14 months old.

The fertility and early fecundity in our MC ewes this year really stood out, in a very tough year with everything environmentally being equal between our WS and MC ewe lambs  our MC ewe lambs scanned at 116% and our WS ewe lambs scanning 65% all due to genetics and selection. WS ewes selected for Terminal traits and MC ewes selected for maternal traits.

 I would like to thank all of our clients who purchased rams and bulls in the past year as this has enabled both Sam and myself to travel, Sam and Emma travelled the USA identifying Angus genetics and Julie and I along with Cloven Hills stud principle Kate Dorahy traveled to New Zealand to source genetics and gain a better understanding of their beef and  prime lamb industry’s respectfully.

Julie, Kate and I spent 10 days in NZ and visited 13 of the best prime lamb seedstock producers in New Zealand. These studs varied in their selection criterion mainly due to Facial Eczema problems in the North Island and lamb Yield based payments in the South Island.

In the South Island [ due to yield based payments ] many of the studs have over the last 20 years developed their own Maternal Composite sheep, using a Coopworth or Romney Marsh base they have introduced Texel and East Frisian genetics and although like our own is still a work in progress are well advanced as to fine tuning their ewe flocks to the requirements of our modern day producer, processer and consumer demands.

Although some elements of their production systems differ from ours we believe that some of the sheep we saw have a lot to offer our program, I also think that it is only a matter of time before we have yield and carcass quality based payments here, hence we have purchased semen and had hoped to purchase 2 rams from Twin Farms Tefrom stud near Gore. We have used Twin Farms genetics in the past with great success, our home bred ram Gates 140069 is ranked 5th on the Lambplan Maternal Index and is sired by Twin Farms 08-807. Some of you would have bought 08-807 sons at last year’s sale and we have quite a few daughters in our flock. These sheep are very similar to our own, still very uniform but will add to genetic diversity. Due to changes in our quarantine regulations the 2 rams will have to stay in NZ for now.

Gates White Suffolk’s are also making exceptional genetic gain with the use of AI (Artificial Insemination), ln 2014 we bred a very good ram by Pollambi 110451 who has an exceptional low birth weight to high growth rate spread with very good worm resistance and carcass quality. Last year we AI’d ewes to Langley Heights 090160 and bred some very nice progeny of which we used 2 sons in our 2016 joining alongside ewes AI’d to Farrer 140188 sold for $17,000.00 at the 2015 Farrer White Suffolk sale.

As mentioned earlier I think its only a matter of time before we see carcass quality and yield based payments here in Australia, we have been working towards this at GPG for some time with great success with all of our lamb consignments direct to abattoirs over the last 3 years achieving an average dressing percentage of around 52%.  We were also lucky enough to secure the last semen available from Galaxy Park 110210 who with a Lamb Plan 20-20 index of 118.6 and an LEQ index of 181.1 is the highest ranked terminal ram across both index’s in Australia.

Feedback from our clients is always helpful when trying to stay in tune with your requirements and production systems, recently a client from Mungindi sent me some photos of 8 week old lambs by our WS rams in the marking yard and out of maiden Merino and Dohne ewes, he was astounded at the weight, length and hindquarter on the lambs and commented that he was glad he had used a contractor to mark most of his lambs as they almost busted him. It was the first time for several years that they have had a season where our genetics have had a chance to be fully expressed. These lambs were dropped in late August and he expects he will have suckers gone by Christmas.

For all of our Autumn joining clients your next chance to get on board the GPG Profit Train will be the Gates Performance Genetics Annual Ram Sale in February 2017 (date to be confirmed), it is envisaged that we will catalogue approximately 120 maternal composite and 50 white Suffolk high indexing industry focused rams.

Graded rams are available if you require them before our on property sale in February. We offer all our clients rams out of season.



Today's Tip:  This season keep up to date with 5-in-1 vaccinations.



Rick, Julie Sam and Emma would like to wish you all the best for the festive season. We hope this spectacularly green season continues into the new year.


Seasons Greetings,

Rick, Julie, Sam and Emma.

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