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Focusing on the finer details of producing quality fleece has seen a dramatic improvement in microns for the Kopp family from Towonga Merino Stud.

Garry and Donna and two of their sons, Shaun and Rohan, run a dynamic operation between properties at Peak Hill and Parkes in New South Wales Central West. Their 4000-hectare aggregation carries 4000 breeding Merino ewes and includes 1600ha of broad-acre cropping.

Garry has spent 38 years in the stud merino industry, sits on The NSW Stud Breeders Council, and is a sought-after judge at sheep shows across Australia.

Running both a stud and commercial flock, Mr. Kopp says the breeding qualities of the Merino make them a perfect choice for an all-rounder animal. He believes the dual-purpose qualities of the Merino make them a superior option for producers.

“They have high productivity when you consider the revenue stream potential from a big carcass animal who can also produce a heavy fleece while growing out,” he says.

“Our focus is on the fertility, wool cut, and constitution of the animal to survive in most areas of the State, from the high rainfall tablelands country to the western districts. Their constitution will always be paramount; it’s the foundation for these unrivaled heavy cutters.”

While the Towonga stud is only four years old, it features some of the most well-regarded bloodlines in the country. After intensive flock management, the Kopps have reduced their clip by two microns, which means a fleece is averaging 20 microns for their stud and commercial animals while maintaining a heavy fleece weight. They put this success down to a mixture of visual classing, fleece weighing, and micron testing.

“We’ve been able to produce that high-quality wool without compromising other breeding objectives,” says Mr. Kopp.

Ram selection is a vital part of the process, and the Towonga sires are performing well.
“The show circuit is one of the ways we can benchmark our flock,” says Mr. Kopp.

“We can measure ourselves against what other breeders are doing to ensure we’re heading in the right direction. It gives us confidence in our breeding philosophies.”

The sheep show circuit plays a significant role in marketing their bloodlines leading into their annual ram sale on their property, Rachel Vale, at Peak Hill.

The Kopps have settled on an eight-month shearing program because it works well for the management of ewes and helps maintain body weights, fertility, and the growth of the animals.

They value customer interaction and say client service is a priority for their business.

“Throughout the year, assistance will always be available for classing ewes, advice on ram selection, flock management, or marketing support. It is what we’re about- your call is always welcome, and Donna, the boys, and I would be delighted to help you,” said Mr. Kopp.

That open-line policy is also relevant to their own business. They are currently running on-farm studies with the Sydney University and Meat and Livestock Australia and facilitating shearing courses with Australian Wool Innovation.