Breed diversity

Breed diversity for Warrawindi Farms

Sheep
Warrawindi Farms, Penola, produce five different breeds of sheep.

Warrawindi Farms, Penola, produce five different breeds of sheep.

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Maximising the red meat production of sheep suited to Australia's climatic conditions is the ultimate goal for Warrawindi Farms, and by breeding a combination of Poll Dorset, East Friesian, Border Leicester and Suffolk sheep, it means they have every aspect covered.

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Maximising the red meat production of sheep suited to Australia's climatic conditions is the ultimate goal for Warrawindi Farms, and by breeding a combination of Poll Dorset, East Friesian, Border Leicester and Suffolk sheep, it means they have every aspect covered.

Warrawindi Farms is a fourth-generation farming operation, located 14 kilometres south-east of Penola on the South Australian and Victorian border.

The farming aggregate consists of Warrawindi, which covers an area of 607 hectares, or 1500 acres, and runs all the stud sheep and cattle, plus five other properties run the commercial crossbred sheep and cattle, totaling 1618 hectares, or 4000 acres.

At Warrawindi, they run 1500 stud ewes of five different breeds.

"We began breeding Poll Dorsets in 2004, starting with a complete purchase of 300 ewes and that flock has now grown to 750," Warrawindi Farms owner David Galpin said.

"Jordan commenced breeding Suffolks in 2012 due to demand for mating maiden ewes and joining ewe lambs.

"After being involved with East Friesians for many years in our commercial flock we had the opportunity to purchase the Haven Park Maternal Stud flock in 2017, which consisted of 50 pure East Friesians and 450 East Friesian/Border Leicester cross ewes.

"Mason also runs 100 pure Border Leicester ewes."

While each breed has its own breeding goals, Mr Galpin said their main focus when breeding for commercial purposes was maximising profits by balancing the number of lambs sold with the number of ewes mated.

"The Poll Dorset breed is maximum growth and meat yield, while Suffolk's are for ease of lambing and meat yield," he said.

"Pure East Friesians are noted for their fertility and milk, while Border Leicesters are bred for first-cross ewe production and the Border Leicester/East Friesian cross are for their milk, fertility, longevity and extreme productivity."

Mr Galpin said rams must stand out in the crowd, be very athletic and be trait leaders in growth and number of lambs weaned, while ewes have to be pretty, fertile and get in lamb within their first two cycles, be productive, and rear every lamb they conceive.

Warrawindi Farms' pastures are basic phalaris/sub-clover based on an annual 550 millimetre rainfall zone.

Sheep are supplementary fed barley and pasture hay during the mating season and early pregnancy; achieving higher conception rates of up to 200 per cent with lamb weaning rates at 155pc for terminals and 170pc for maternals.

Recent sale results include terminal rams topping at $5000 and averaging $1560 and maternal rams topping at $4000 and averaging $2600.

Warrawindi Farms produce close to 600 rams each season, and their main sale on October 8 will feature about 200 Poll Dorsets and 20 Suffolks, about 150 East Friesian/Border Leicester cross rams and 30 Border Leicester rams.

Their spring-drop ram sale on November 26 will feature 50 Poll Dorsets, 20 Suffolks, 25 Border Leicesters and 25 East Friesian-cross rams.

Rams must stand out in the crowd, be very athletic and be trait leaders in growth and number of lambs weaned. - David Galpin, Warrawindi Farms owner

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