Petali Merino Stud was established in 1966 (by Martin’s parents Herbert & Jillian) with one third of the Mirani Stud (est. 1932 by Martin’s grandfather AS Nivison), descendants from the Ohio flock (est.1868 by Martin’s great-great grandfather Abraham Nivison).

Originally Tasmanian blood, introductions since have been from productive fine/medium bloodlines.

Sheep Classers & Selection

During the 1980’s objective measurement using raw data was used in selection. In 1991 Petali commenced a new breeding program with Dr Jim Watts as stud classer until 1997, and Dr Paul Swan consulting from 1996 until 2001. Mr Rob Russell was stud classer from 2001-2013. Dr Mark Ferguson has been consulting since 2018.

Genetic progress since 1991 has been significant and results in Petali being a leading productive fine merino flock. Accelerated genetic gain since 2001 has been a result of the adoption of Australian Sheep Breeding Values (ASBV’s) technology, and involvement in MLA’s Merino Validation Project from 2002-2005.


The Merinoselect sheep database converts pedigree and performance data collected on farm into ASBV’s. This estimates the genetic difference between animals for many traits including: wool, body weight, worm resistance, carcass and fertility.

Poll Merinos

Poll Merino breeding commenced in 1997. Genetics from leading fine & superfine poll merino flocks were used. The most successful introductions include Toland Poll R730 and 1217 “Maverick”, purchased for $20,000 in 2001. Some outside sires are used each year for genetic linkage and possible introduction.

The original merino stud 3054 has now been discontinued and all sheep, including the 2007 drop, have been registered under Petali Poll Merino flock number 1279.

Vale Herbert Oppenheimer



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