Wether Trial Results


The Comparisons: 1989-1999

 K.A. Coelli, K.D. Atkins, A.E. Casey and S.J. Semple

Orange Agricultural Institute, NSW Agriculture, Orange

The performance differences between many commonly used Merino bloodlines can now be defined.  This is the result of the Merino Breeding Group's updated analysis of 68 wether trials conducted in NSW, SA, WA, Tasmania, Victoria and Queensland during the 10 years from 1989 to 1999.

Market influence

Three market periods have been evaluated -

         Low (9 per cent) micron premium (MP),

         Moderate (11 per cent) micron premium, and

         High (13 per cent) micron premium.

 This range of markets has been presented to assist breeders who are considering a range of breeding objectives.

 There is a major change in the gross margin value of bloodlines in the different market types demonstrated in Figures 4, 5 and 6.  It is critical to have a clear understanding of the market type you feel describes the future wool market - and its influence on your breeding objective - before bloodline selection is undertaken.

 Figures 4, 5 and 6 demonstrate the relationship between gross margin values, clean fleece weight and fibre diameter.  A contour line on a graph joins points of equal gross margin value.

Three gross margin per DSE lines are shown on each graph. They are:

         20 % above average,


         20  % below average.

 Bloodlines that are on or close to one of the three lines have a similar gross margin per DSE.

 Figure 4 shows the gross margin contours for the moderate micron premium (11 % MP) 1995 to 1999 markets as described in Table 1 and Figure 3.

 Within the last five years there have been short-term periods of low and high micron premium wool markets.  The contour lines on Figures 5 and 6 demonstrate the effect of these low and high micron premium market types on the gross margin value of bloodlines.

 Figure 5 contour lines describe the low micron premium (9 % MP) in the 1995 selling season values.  In this market type fleece weight has a more dominant influence on bloodline gross margin value.  All heavy cutting Fine to Medium Wool bloodlines have a high gross margin, as shown by the +20 % gross margin contour.  As broad wool bloodlines do not have a heavier fleece weight compared to some heavy cutting medium wool bloodlines their gross margin performance is only average to below average.

 Figure 6 contour lines describe the high micron premium (13 % MP) during the 1999 selling season.  In this market type fibre diameter has a dominant influence on a bloodline's gross margin value. The fine wool bloodlines have an extremely high gross margin despite their relatively low fleece weight.  Bloodlines with above average fibre diameter do not have a competitive gross margin value.

 While the three market types in Figure 4, 5 and 6 can generally be described as low, moderate and high micron premium markets, each of the market periods have a range in premiums across the micron categories. 

 Figure 7 graphs the micron premiums for the micron categories in each of the market types in Figures 4, 5 and 6. The largest difference between the market types was apparent in the 20 and 21 micron premiums, and to a lesser extent for the 22 micron premium. The 23 and 24 micron premiums were low in all market types. Variation in micron premium within a market type results in curved contour lines.

 Further Information

To make the best use of this information, producers should consider the details on the inside cover of the Bloodline Performance folder and Agnote DAI/54 Choosing A Bloodline Source.

 If you require further information, contact the Merino Breeding Group, Orange -

phone:  02 6391 3812,  fax:  02 6391 3922


Micron Premium

 Micron premium is a measure of the wool market's relative value of fleece weight and fibre diameter.

 Micron premium is the percentage increase in price/kg for wool one micron finer.  For example, the 21 micron premium is the value of 20 micron relative to 21 micron.

 Calculating micron premium is simple and straightforward.  Firstly obtain the two wool market values for the micron you are considering.  They may be micron indicators (commonly used for general distribution) or prices for a wool type relevant to a particular situation.  They could be spot values or average values calculated over a longer period that reduces short-term fluctuations.  They could be values you think will be relevant in the future.

 The example below sets out how to do the calculation.

 Example: Micron premium for 21 micron wool

 Step 1.  Obtain the values of the micron you want to calculate and for one micron finer

For example:

            -  21 micron value  =  500 cents per kg

            -  20 micron value  =  550 cents per kg

 Step 2.  Calculate the value of fleece weight - that is, the value of 1kg of wool of the micron you want to calculate

            - the value of a kg of 21 micron wool

            =  500 cents per kg

Step 3.  Calculate the value of fibre diameter  - the difference between the value of the micron you want to calculate and the value of one micron finer

            - that is the difference between

            21 micron & 20 micron

            = 50 cents/kg

 Step 4.  Calculate the relative value of fleece weight and fibre diameter - the value of fibre diameter divided by the value of fleece weight  and expressed as a percentage (%)

             50 x 100 = 10% MP