The Evolution of Ashby Merino's
Ashby Holdings have been running merino sheep for 50 years. The commercial ewe base was Merryville genetics sourced from Rokeby in Tasmania. In 2006 Ashby took a different genetic path in order to lift $/DSE. The Bennett family sourced Yalgoo genetics for 4 years from the base stud at Walcha. An opportunity presented itself for Ashby to breed and sell 100% Yalgoo genetics at a local level in Tasmania. After benchmarking the effect of the different genetic composition on his merino flock, Will entered in to a partnership with the Nivison family from Walcha.
In 2009 Yalgoo sent 150 of their highest performing maiden flock ewes to Ashby. In 2010 another 100 maiden ewes were sent to Tasmania. These 250 high performing ewes formed the ram breeding nucleus that is - Ashby Merinos.
The original ewe nucleus were all artificially inseminated to proven, high performing Yalgoo sires. Early influential sires used at Ashby were Yalgoo 030068 and 040487. The two rams gave Ashby a consistent and structurally correct base in which to breed from. Each year all Ashby ewes are artificially inseminated to proven, high performing Yalgoo sires. Before the ram is considered for use at Ashby, it must have proven its genetic value at Yalgoo. Three proven Yalgoo sires have been sent to Ashby to be used as backup rams for the AI program so far.
Until now the flock has been self replacing. However as the Ashby commercial flock evolves, there is a likelihood that the highest performing ewes will be trialled and incorporated into the ram breeding nucleus. This will give Ashby a larger population of genetics to breed from and will mirror the breeding program at Yalgoo.