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Profit and Benchmarking

At Kerin Poll, figures and results speak for themselves. Our 2011/12 benchmarking results came in with a $59.04/DSE gross margin for our commercial Merino breeding operation. See the graph below for our benchmarking trend over the past seven financial years.
Our gross margin per hectare in 2011/12 was $380/ha. This shows that our commercial Merino flock (stud excluded) stacks up squarely against winter cropping in our highly variable climate.

What we love most about Merinos is that they’re low risk. You’ve always got something to sell with Merinos regardless of season, whether that be their wool, lambs over-the-hook, or surplus ewes to re-stockers or processors. We also have a spread of income throughout the year, providing something we all need – cashflow.

Why do we achieve such good results?

We breed a Maternal Merino with fantastic carcase characteristics, fertility, and heavy-cutting, and bright white medium wools.

Here are just some of the things we do, specifically those that affect our key profit driver - fertility:

  • We use wether teasers that are treated with two applications of Tesgro – one two weeks prior to their joining and one at joining. So, teasers are in with our ewes for two weeks prior to rams going in with them. Rams are joined with the ewes for a shortened period of 4-5 weeks. Why? Shorter joining periods results in more even weaning weights, simplifies management through having a shorter lambing period, and it works to really test our ewes’ fertility to make them justify their place on our farm


  • Our maiden ewes are treated the same as all other ewes on the property. They never get a second chance to produce a lamb. If any ewes lose their lambs, that’s another cause for dismissal from our breeding program


  • For every 100 hectares, we put out 35 fox baits prior to and during lambing, to reduce predatory lamb deaths 


  • Very little of our country is sheltered so we lock that area up for a minimum of four months prior to lambing to remove any worm burden and then use that protected country during lambing


  • We try not to disturb our ewes during lambing. Due to operating under a cell grazing system, we split up our ewes into small mobs of up to 200 prior to lambing, to prevent us from having to move them between paddocks often. When there are so many twins and triplets running around, it’s easy for new mothers to misplace a lamb or two if under stress!


  • We mark our lambs at six weeks old, wean at three months old and wether lambs are then marketed over-the-hooks at seven to eight months old


  • Ewe lambs are joined at seven months old where we aim to have them weighing over 43kg


  • We pregnancy scan ewes five weeks after the rams come out. We scan for multiple births and identify the ewes accordingly. In dry times when we need to de-stock, we have the option of selling single-bearing ewes and maintaining ewes that have produced multiple lambs, thus continuing our focus on fertility


  • We constantly assess what is ‘waste’ in our business and quickly remove this before it starts to drag down profit potential.


The graph below shows the increasing level of profitability we are achieving from our Kerin Poll commercial flock.

The graph below uses 2012 data from leading benchmarking firms Holmes Sackett, ProAdvice and PrincipleFocus, as published in the annual AgInsights publication. This clearly shows that Kerin Poll's commercial (NOT stud!) Merino flock is strongly competitive with the results achieved by the top 20% of producers in competing enterprises. To clarify, the Dual Purpose enterprise is a non self-replacing Merino ewe, joined to a terminal sire.