The Mountain Dam Merino Stud produces high quality fine and superfine wool with a clip average of 16 to 18 micron wool.
Registered in 1992, we have a long history of performing under commercial pressure, have won many Wether Trials and have leading performances in Sire Evaluation Trials.
The Mountain Dam Stud offers:
- Superior genetics providing maximum commercial benefits to our clients
- Heavy cutting, quality, low micron wools on fertile sheep with great constitutions
- Semen sales from our top genetics
- Health guarantees including Brucellosis and Ovine Johne’s Disease free accreditations
- A variety of ongoing support for ram clients including sheep classing and management
The Mountain Dam fine and superfine wool merino stud runs between 5,000 and 10,000 animals. The Mountain Dam continues to focus on commercial wool production, producing high performing sheep that boast quality wool.
While the merino stud is the backbone to the commercial flock, cropping plays a big role and is being used to develop and improve country.
The Mountain Dam stud animals are fully pedigreed and face annual performance reviews using a variety of methods to ensure accurate decision making for the bloodline.
Only high performing animals make the cut, with the studs’ simple philosophy: “Sheep need to look and test the part”. The Stud’s successful breeding program is driven by a mixture of experience and modern technology.
In addition to Tom’s knowledge, decisions are made using:
- Comprehensive performance records on every animal
Capturing scientific and visual assessments for over 50 traits including worm resistance, fat, muscle and fertility
- Assistant stud classers
Adrian Menzel and Dale Bruns
Sheep Genetics Australian Merino Select Sheep Breeding Values
- DNA testing
The selection process continues to push fertility, along with confirmation, with any ewe not conceiving or raring lambs being sold.
The Stud breeding had a major setback when all rams, maiden stud ewes and some of the very best older ewes were lost in a bushfire which ravaged the property in 2005.
A strong semen bank, good records and existing mainstream ewes, enabled all breeding ewes to be joined using Artificial Insemination until a new wave of rams became available.
It took a number of years to rebuild the stud’s breeding power. With John having returned to the family farm and managing the majority of daily operations, Tom was free to focus on the recreation of the Stud breeding. The strong momentum is continuing to drive success and deliver ever improving wool for The Mountain Dam and our clients.
‘The Mountain Dam’ at Telangatuk East of 964 hectares was purchased in the mid 1960s. It was totally timbered and ran 150 wethers in its first year of operation. Clearing began in the late 1960s with contract dozing and some country was chained. Phalaris, rye grass and sub clovers were sod seeded into the unprepared cleared country.
Gringegalgona ewes were transferred to The Mountain Dam in the late 1970s with an average lambing history of 100%. Initial lambing attempts delivered poor results due to large fox numbers, thriving in the crown land surrounding the property on three sides. Lambing percentages were as low as 45% – 55%. After moving to the property in 1980, Tom and Alison increased the lambing percentages to approximately 80% with intensive baiting and shooting campaigns. With a sustained vermin control program and a focus on fertility, The Mountain Dam stud ewes now boast an increasing lambing average of 100%, with a vision for 140%.
‘The Mountain Dam’ has an average rainfall of 546 mm. The country is gently undulating to flat. Soil types vary from silt sand, sandy loams through to heavy grey clays, with a predominate winter rainfall.
‘The Mountain Dam’ was operated under the umbrella of a family partnership until July 1983 at which time, Tom and Alison began operating it as a sole enterprise.
For a number of years Tom and Alison grew The Mountain Dam Pastoral Company to include a number of properties across Western Victoria, shearing up to 35,000 merino sheep annually and employing a number of full time staff.
In recent years John and his wife Merty have joined Tom and Alison at The Mountain Dam. Succession planning and a number of opportunities led to the consolidation of the enterprise to The Mountain Dam and an additional 460 adjoining acres was acquired. With John and Merty beginning to manage the daily operations of the farm, Tom and Alison have been able to focus their attention on the Stud.