Curragh breeding traditional SA types

Curragh breeding traditional SA types


Sheep
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Grazing some 14,500-15,000 Merino ewes plus followers over a spread of 86,000 hectares, 120 kilometres northeast of Balranald, Bill Ryan and his wife Pip and their family of three, Willie (12), Paddy (11) and Lottie (8) are enjoying farm life.

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Bill Ryan has matched his Curragh bred sheep to suit western Riverina low rainfall, saltbush and native grass country, with Alma-bloodlines and recently rams from White River Merino Stud, on the western Eyre Penninsula, SA.

Bill Ryan has matched his Curragh bred sheep to suit western Riverina low rainfall, saltbush and native grass country, with Alma-bloodlines and recently rams from White River Merino Stud, on the western Eyre Penninsula, SA.

Originally from Darlington Point, Bill and Pip brought their Hatfield/Oxley district property, Curragh in 2004 and in the decade since they have amalgamated some neighbouring properties to their sheep and wool growing business.

Bill says that stocking the property to their changing conditions is one the greatest challenges he faces on a regular basis. With much of it saltbush country with some native grass areas he says the South Australian style of plain-bodied sheep are best suited, hence the use of Alma rams and just recently the purchase of rams from the western Eyre Peninsula area, and in particular White River Merino Stud at Minnipa.

Selecting for a large framed, plain-bodied sheep, with good body weight that can cover the country, Bill says he has aimed to match his sheep to the low rainfall of the area, which this year has allowed them to successfully mark 100 percent of lambs  (a good year) whereas 80-85pc would be more normal.

In the wool department the Curragh sheep are focused on growing a white, bright fleece with good crimp definition. With shearing of sale sheep normally completed by early August, Bill says an average cut of 6 kg fleece wool at 21 micron is an honest return for sheep grazed under difficult conditions.

And this year Curragh will offer at the Hay sheep sale in September a surplus to requirement line of rising 1.5 year-old Curragh blood and bred ewe hoggets that were late July shorn: sheep that have been grazed on Oakdene since shearing. 

The story Curragh breeding traditional SA types first appeared on Stock & Land.

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