New shearing shed underlines strong sheep future at Lock

A NEW shearing shed is sure to give any sheep farmer a boost and for Lock grower Matt Mellor, it has continued a strong focus on the family’s sheep operation.

Matt and his wife, Stacey, together with his parents, John and Dorothy, run about 2500 sheep on their ‘Mellorvale’ property. They also crop 1700 hectares to wheat, barley and canola following a mainly year-in, year-out rotation.

Matt’s grandfather cleared most of the property and the fourth generation looks to be on the way, with Matt and Stacey having two young sons, Hudson and Austin.

The ‘Mellorvale’ flock is based on the Kiandra bloodline, which for many years was local before the stud moved to Bordertown.

“We purchase five to six rams every year from Kiandra,’’ Matt said.

“We focus on breeding easy handling, fast growing sheep. We don’t run them too hard. We have 1200 ewes and 1200 lambs on about 1000ha.

“They are plain-bodied, easy care sheep. About 6-7 years ago we got rid of the neck wrinkle.’’

The sheep go onto stubbles after harvest and the ewes lamb during May-June. The lambs are later weaned onto pastures and sometimes receive Weanerguard vaccine and wormer.’’

The family previously sheared in March, but since Matt took over in 2008, he has been aiming to get back to an optimum wool growing length of about 10 months and so switched to late July shearings.

The sheep cut about 6 kilograms per head and the wool hovers at around 20 micron with yield percentages in the high 60s. Wool from the younger sheep is around 17 microns.

Matt depends upon local wool marketing adviser Lawrence Seal, Quality Wool, for market advice and generally sells the clip at auction soon after shearing.

“We did hang onto our wool once and we didn’t do so well. We get it into the auction pretty quickly after shearing,’’ he said.

Matt Melor and Lawrence Seal, Quality Wool inspect a stylish 'Mellorvale' fleece.

Matt Melor and Lawrence Seal, Quality Wool inspect a stylish ‘Mellorvale’ fleece.