Research carried out by The University of Western Australia has found that the most profitable sheep breeding lines for broadacre farming are Merino ewes mated with Merino or crossbred rams, with the biggest earners being market-weight Merino lambs and crossbred lambs.
The study was made possible through a 2019 Sir Eric Smart Scholarship provided to UWA Agricultural Science student Mr Michael Young.
Mr Young’s research focused on the question of what sheep flock size and structure was most profitable while also complementing the cropping components of farm businesses.
“We wanted to see how different flock structures would affect farm profit, within a whole farm setting,” Mr Young said.
“Using whole-farm bioeconomic modelling, we found there were profitable sheep flocks that were resilient to commodity price variation, however these flocks do require more management.”
Mr Young said he hoped his research could help support broadacre farmers in the strategic management of mixed enterprise farming systems in Australia.
“Completing a strategic analysis for a broadacre, mixed enterprise farming system can be a real challenge,” Mr Young said.
“The decision maker needs to consider the range of factors that can affect the relative profitability of each enterprise component, as well as how the components interact.”
Hackett Professor Kadambot Siddique, Director of The UWA Institute of Agriculture, said that Sir Eric Smart Scholarships had supported at least 20 UWA students to date.
“Sir Eric Smart was a pioneer who worked hard to increase agricultural production and sustainability,” Professor Siddique said.
“The Sir Eric Smart Scholarship was bequeathed to UWA by Sir Eric Smart upon his death in 1973 and was further supplemented by a gift from his son Peter Smart.
“The Sir Eric Smart Scholarship encourages bright students to research ways of improving the productivity and profitability of agriculture here in Western Australia.”
Michael Young’s Honours thesis was supervised by Professors Ross Kingwell and Phil Vercoe.
Michael Young (UWA Agricultural Science student) 0428 825 054
Laura Skates (Communications Officer, The UWA Institute of Agriculture) 08 6488 3756
Jess Reid (UWA Media and PR Adviser) 08 6488 6876