Farm Online

High performing rams from Yasloc

PRODUCTIVE, PROFITABLE GENETICS: The Say family has been breeding stud Poll Dorest sheep for 56 years, and added White Suffolks to the operation in 2011.

This is branded content for Yasloc Poll Dorsets and White Suffolks.

BREEDING structurally sound sheep with strong growth and carcase quality is the goal for the Say family at Yasloc stud.

The Glen Innes, NSW-based stud established its Poll Dorset flock in 1966 with the purchase of 22 foundation ewes from Ted Fricklinton, and 140 ewes from Gus Taylor's Lindsbury stud at Cudal in 1967.

In 1982 the stud held its first sale, achieving a then record Australian average of $268 for 182 rams, and in 1987, stud founder Colin Say and his son Andrew sourced two Poll Dorset rams from New Zealand.

White Suffolks were added to the business in 2011, and Yasloc became a White Suffolk stud in 2019.

Over the past decade, Farrer genetics have made a big impact on the stud, along with Felix rams, which has been used extensively for the past three years.

"The Farrer rams have bred us some really good lambs with some finding their way into the stud program, and the Felix rams are really good sheep with the ASBV (Australian Sheep Breeding Value) figures to match," Nick Say said.

"We're very happy with their progeny. With both breeds, we focus on low birthweight rams with positive fat and muscle. They've also got to be structurally correct - there's no point buying a ram with the best figures if he's not structurally sound."

The stud has also been using artificial insemination sires from Bundara Downs, Pepperton and Bruan studs, with the focus on meat characteristics such as high intramuscular fat (IMF) and eating quality when it comes to ram selection.

"We've been doing a lot of genomic testing recently to find the IMF and eating quality data in our young rams and ewes, as we believe this is the path the lamb industry is going. All lambs are weighed at birth and again at weaning at three months of age, then at seven months lambs are muscle and fat scanned to give us our ABSV data.

"We pride ourselves on giving our clients the most accurate data possible."

Andrew and Carolyn Say now run the operation, which includes about 1000 registered ewes, alongside their son Nick and his wife Kate, and their young son Harrison.

With both breeds, we focus on low birthweight rams with positive fat and muscle. They've also got to be structurally correct - there's no point buying a ram with the best figures if he's not structurally sound.

- Nick Say, Yasloc Poll Dorsets and White Suffolks

The 350 White Suffolks, 300 Poll Dorsets and 350 composite ewes produce about 1400 lambs each year and they're run under commercial conditions, allowing the family to select the best genetics from the entire flock.

"We want to breed low birthweight rams with good growth and positive fat and muscle, but they're rams that can handle all conditions with great feet," Mr Say said.

"Our rams are never fed and are run under commercial conditions so their performance here is what clients will see in their flocks - what you see is what you get.

"When selecting sires for our stud team we always have our clients' operations in the back of our minds, so we're breeding easy-doing rams that are good on the eye, and ewes that don't join up or don't mother a lamb after birthing are culled out."

The family has a very strong client base in the New England and North West regions of NSW, but Yasloc rams are used from Thallon in southern Queensland, to Yass in southern NSW.

Yasloc sells about 200 rams each year, throughout the annual ram sale, which marked its 40th year in 2022, and through private sales.

"We have rams to suit every breed, and they're perfect over Merinos," Mr Say said.

"Our clients are targeting a range of markets, some selling lambs as suckers off mum, and some targeting the heavy trade market, and we've got clients that are topping the markets, week in, week out."

EASY LAMBING SHEEP: Yasloc stud focuses on producing low birthweight rams which produce quick growing lambs with good carcase quality.

Yasloc rams have been siring quick-growing crossbred lambs for longtime client Geoff Bucknell, Bukkulla Station, Inverell, and the genetics are improving each year.

Mr Bucknell will join about 9000 Dohne ewes this year, with about 6000 joined to Poll Dorset rams and the rest to Dohne rams for the self-replacing flock.

Yasloc rams are selected for easy lambing and quick growth.

"When I look at his rams I find they're good across the shoulder, they've got very long backs and they're not too big across the necks for ease of lambing.

"We used to have a fair bit of trouble with lambs getting stuck, but we've concentrated on buying rams from Yasloc that aren't huge at birth, and that's definitely made a difference."

Growth rates have also improved, with heavy lambs turned off at 55 to 60 kilogram for the export market.

"They're going from five months, and we're getting them off two to three months earlier than we used to," Mr Bucknell said.

This is branded content for Yasloc Poll Dorsets and White Suffolks.