Wilga Merinos is a new venture for the Fidock family.
We started breeding our own rams in 2011, and felt the need to benchmark our performance against the rest of the Merino Industry to assess our genetic worth and help us establish better breeding goals. In 2013, we joined Sheep Genetics Australia (SGA) and started submitting our sheep trait data. This has allowed us to see our merits and short falls in our breeding and assist us in sire selection and dam allocation to ensure we are making good gains against all of the profitable breeding traits such as Post-Weaning Weights(PWT), Yearling Weight(YWT), Muscle and Fat(YEMD & YFAT), and fleece weights (YGFW, YCFW). We have made significant gains in our breeding since joining SGA and invite you to look us up on their website:
Why did we start a ram breeding enterprise? Please see our Breeding Page.
Property & Climate
Wilga Merinos is situated west of Tullamore, NSW. The family farm was purchased in the late 1920’s by Ewan’s grandfather Allan Fidock. He had travelled some 100km by horse from Trangie in search of country that had good ground water for livestock, Wilga Plains was the property he purchased. Despite the property name ‘Plains’, it has undulating country dominated by Iron Bark ridges of gravel quartz low-fertile soil, which can run a substantial amount of ground water in a storm filling dams quickly. This country then drops down to the ‘plains’ of red loam soils; some fertile, some not. The majority of the soils on the property consist of quartz and gravel layers just under the topsoil, which is extremely harsh on machinery.
Much of property does not suit continuous cropping due to the lower fertile soils and is better suited to sheep grazing. The pastures are dominantly comprised of native grasses with some areas of ryegrass and clover. We rely heavily on the native grasses as they respond quickly to rainfall events and hang in longer in dry times.
Our annual rainfall is 450mm which can occur all year round, with January historically our wettest and July our driest months. However much of our rain falls in storms of 25-80mm in which can then be followed by a month or several months of minimal rainfall.
Similar is the extremes in our temperature from mid 40 degrees being a common occurrence in summer, and down to minus 4 in winter. It seems most years we go from summer to winter and back again without much of an autumn or spring.
It can be a challenging environment we work with, but we love it just the same.