In 1999 John and Jo Symons wool growing business had floundered as the prices paid for 23.5 micron wool were below the cost of production. A couple of near neighbours who had 20 micron clips were doing quite well indeed, and a decision was made to lower the Turkey Lane clip as quickly as possible to that level.
Contact was made with Greg Johnsson, a principal of the Flock Production Group and a plan was implemented to genetically modify the flock to achieve the desired 20 micron average in five years without lowering wool cut. The pathway forward was to select by measurement, the top 200 ewes from the breeding flock and use artificial insemination, purchasing semen from rams with the highest ASBV’s available. Turkey Lane has continued down this pathway with an annual AI programme, to supplement the use of Turkey Lane sires in breeding seed stock.
Today the flock has a sub 18 micron average, with wool clips substantially higher than those of the nineties. ASBV’s are the biggest driver of this improvement, but subjective classing has always been high on our agenda.
John and Jo had been running Turkey Lane by themselves until Jan 2017 when Hannah their youngest daughter and husband Brian moved back to the farm. Hannah and Brian are now involved in all aspects of the family business and have a passion for continuing to improve wool production through genetics.