Show Notes

Breeding a balanced sheep is no easy feat. But with a head for numbers and a great mindset, our guest this week, Alan Rissmann, is doing just that.

With the business tagline 'We breed sheep to work for you, not make work for you', it's no surprise that Rissmerino breeds sheep for higher welfare traits and reduced workload. In his conversation with Mark, Alan dives into the 'why' behind this.

"In the industry, there's been this perception that sheep are hard work and they just have to be hard work," says Alan. Quoting the adage, "Whether you think you can or you think you can't, you'll be right," Alan shares why the belief that sheep are hard work can hold producers back from improving their sheep production. 

"If you don't think sheep can survive without a drench, without a foot trim, you're not going to try to fix it.... But, if you do think that this is a stupid waste of time, like I do, then you're going to do something to fix it and there are ways to fix that."

Mark and Alan discuss the traits that Rissmerino base their breeding decisions on and what they are looking for in a sheep - low micron, low adult weight, good growth curve, increased fertility, worm and fly resistance, structural soundness and clean skin. Sounds like a dream sheep!

Alan is a firm believer in running large mobs of sheep so that they face the same challenges. "They're all in one mob pretty much all year. There are just five weeks they get pulled out to be single-sired and then five weeks again over lambing time. The rest of the year the sheep run just on grass, all in one big mob so they go compete with each other for survival and I think that's very important," he says.

The location of the Rissmann's property offers many environmental challenges, which means their flock is "pretty bombproof", as Alan puts it. They face heavy rain leading to pressure on wool colouring and fly, more worms and also feet issues. This, along with Rissmerino's  dedicated data collection,  hard work in genetic selection and strict culling policy, have rewarded them with some exciting merino sheep with plenty of potential for handling future challenges.

This is an inspiring podcast that highlights the success that can come when you put all of the best-practice principles into action.


This week we have @Rissmerino on the #podcast. @Fergenetics and Alan Rissmann discuss the breeding  objective behind Rissmerino and the mindset of "Whether you think you can or you think you can't, you'll be right,"  when it comes to making genetic gain in merinos.

#genetics #sheep #headshepherd

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