The Studs

Background

The Mirani stud was founded in 1932 by A.S. (Poss) Nivison, and celebrates its 80th Anniversary in 2012. In that time, the stud has been classed by Poss, Peter, Hugh & Tim Nivison , and since July 2006 is managed by Hugh and Felicity Nivison.

For the last 80 years, the Mirani objective has been to produce sheep that perform under paddock conditions in the New England ; sheep that produce a large amount of high quality wool, while requiring the minimum of care. The success can be measured in some way by the large numbers of studs that list Mirani blood in their foundation.

A constant during the last 80 years has been innovation and the adoption of the latest technology. From being the first to spread superphosphate by air in the 1950s, pioneering the use of computers in the 1980s to the adoption genetic evaluation in the 1990s, the Nivison family has been keen to use very tool available to maximise farm performance.

Mirani sheep are true fine wool Merinos . Bright, white soft handling wool with good style and character is essential in a high rainfall environment, and is a feature of the Mirani sheep.

The flocks at Mirani comprise 400 stud and 4000 commercial ewes and followers, together with some 2000 wethers. Mirani is predominantly a wool growing enterprise and we need our sheep to return the maximum gross margin per hectare possible.

 Faecal Egg Counts are also being used to select sires with increased resistance to internal parasites, helping to increase productivity, and reduce management costs.  

Selection Procedures

Ram lambs are classed visually at weaning, with the best  being retained for testing. These rams are then tipped and then fully fleece tested at 12 months of age. The best of these on index and visual assessment are reserved for further evaluation, with the rest available as sale rams

The top young rams are progeny tested, and all Reserves are again fully fleece tested at 24 months. The top performing ram in our progeny test is entered in the New England CTSE each year to provide linkages to other years and other sites.

All ewes retained for breeding undergo thorough visual and objective selection. A preliminary culling on visual faults takes place prior to their first joining at 18 months of age. All the maidens are then scanned for pregnancy status, and any non pregnant ewes are culled.

At 24 months, the ewes are side sampled and fleece weighed. From these results, ASBVs and indexes are generated and the ewes are then allocated to provisional 1st Studs, Studs, UltraFines, Flocks, and Culls on a 10%MP + SS + WEC index. The ewes are then classed to ensure they are suitable for their grade.

All stud ewes are classed each year and scanned for pregnancy status. 

Benchmarking

Mirani joined Merino Benchmark in 1998 to further refine our selection process. Mirani sires and young rams are now compared with 20 elite studs from across Australia. This benchmarking enables us to see how our sheep compare (very well) as well as identify sources of superior genetics to use in the stud.

One of the other benefits of benchmarking is the ability to track genetic progress. Mirani can now demonstrate that we are making progress in reducing micron and increasing fleece weight, at the same time.

Click here to see some results 

 

As well as confirming that index selection works, it gives us confidence to continue with our current selection strategies. We can also predict where the stud will be in another 10 years. 

In 10 years, Mirani will have reduced micron by 1.2, and increased fleece weights by over 12%.  

Health Status

The Mirani Flock is Accredited Free of Ovine Brucellosis and 

Monitored Negative (MN3) from Ovine Johne's Disease (Paratuberculosis).


DATES TO REMEMBER

New England Field Days Saturday 11th January 2014
Armidale Unhoused Ram Sale  Monday 3rd February 2014
On Property Ram Sales during February 2014


MIRANI 2014