The latest NSW DPI research shows sheep breeding enterprises performed well in 2015, with many delivering 12 to 17 per cent increases in gross margins, equal to a rise of three to five dollars per dry sheep equivalent.
DPI sheep development officer Geoff Casburn said the modelling compared gross margins for 10 typical sheep enterprises.
‘‘The best results were for 20 micron Merino ewes joined to a maternal meat ram with a gross margin of $35.93 per DSE — that’s delivering $359/ha with an increase of $5.13/DSE compared with last year,’’ Mr Casburn said.
‘‘Those results are due mainly to an increase in the market price for first cross ewe hoggets and an increase in prices for both Merino and crossbred wool.
‘‘Even though this enterprise had to purchase replacement ewes, the cost was off-set by selling double the number of ewe hoggets and a similar number of cast-for-age ewes.’’
A self-replacing 18 micron wool enterprise had the next highest gross margin increase at $4.17/DSE, which was driven by a rise in wool value and the sale value of excess ewes.
The 20 micron Merino and first cross ewe enterprises joined to terminal rams continued to perform well, even though they experienced a reduction in gross margin of 13 and eight per cent respectively, due mainly to the higher cost of replacements.
Enterprises with the highest gross margins also had the highest costs per hectare, which were off-set by higher returns.
Mr Casburn said self-replacing 18 micron Merino and 20 micron Merino enterprises joined to either terminal or maternal meat rams delivered the best average performance in the past five years.
‘‘A 20 micron self-replacing Merino enterprise with 25 per cent of ewes joined to a terminal ram performed surprisingly well and it appears to cover all bases — breeding replacements, wool production and sale of prime lambs.’’.