Article at The Rural (29 Apr 2015)
SOMETIMES the best sheep need to be bred for the conditions to generate the best return for producers.
The Australian White (AW) is one that is turning heads.
Bred at Oberon over the last decade by blending elite lines from four existing breeds, the Australian White has quickly realised its objectives. A hardy and adaptable breed, it thrives in various Australian pastoral conditions, while maintaining good conversion rates and ease of finishing. The AW has a shedding hair pattern, which means low-maintenance: no shearing, no crutching and minimal-to-no fly or lice risk. It is a non-selective grazier – the AW eat what’s in front of it instead of chasing better pasture and do well on varied types of feed. Shedding breeds are an increasingly important part of the high performance prime lamb industry. The breed is proving an absolute pleasure to work with. With inputs being so expensive it’s essential to manage these costs and keep them to a minimum without letting quality slide.
A self-replacing, easy care, haired meat sheep, it has the added bonus of brilliant temperament and great feet. AW is proving the ideal stock for both Bungarley and Kalnari Australian White studs. “Bungarley” Australian White stud was established in 2011. Looking for a sheep breed to run alongside other business interests, the opportunity arose for “Bungarley” to be involved in the new breed. “Bungarley” Aussie Whites has been able to increase the quality of its stock to become a high muscled, quick growth, low maintenance, self-replacing Australian prime lamb sheep breed.
The story was much the same for Kalnari Stud. After more than 40 years in the prime lamb industry, the stud sought a self-replacing, fully shedding flock with minimal inputs. In 2010, the stud began sourcing AW rams and in 2012 recipient ewes were purchased carrying pre-bred AW embryos.
Kalnari focuses on growth, maturity and productivity while also maintaining breeding standards. In order to gain the best genetic value, Kalnari has a well-constructed breeding program in place.
There is also a prime lamb enterprise run in conjunction with the AW breeding program, where 1000 AW ewes, sourced from a Dorset base, are mated with high-quality AW rams. This provides a source of elite ewe lambs for the upgrade program, as well as quality prime lambs for market, who easily attain 50 to 55 kilograms by 16 to 20 weeks. Weight gains of both stud and commercial lambs are regularly monitored to identify bloodlines achieving ideal growth rates and early maturity, while maintaining carcase weight.