Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Mary had a little lamb - More from Australia

It's fleece was white as snow

A couple weekends ago I had the opportunity to visit a Shorthorn and Merino stud northeast of Adelaide, called Bundaleer. In Australia a stud means you have purebred livestock and they are registered. You have to register your stud each year with your respected breed association and have to be registered in order to show your livestock.

It was great to meet the Asby family. They have used a sampling of American and Canadian genetics in their Shorthorn herd, and have traveled through North America. Again it proved to be a small world as we knew many of the same people.

I have been learning lots about the sheep industry while I have been in Australia, and pretty sure I have seen more sheep here that I have in my whole life. Lamb is a staple in Aussies diets, much the same as beef is in ours. They also eat a lot of chicken here, and we probably eat more pork than they do.

This stud is very well known for their Merino sheep, and will sell close to 800 rams a year. This year the price of sheep has really increased and as a result so has the price of purebred stock. They averaged just over $1,400 for their rams, which is up from previous years. Merino is a wool breed, and it produces some of the finest wool in the world. Often people will have Merino ewes and then breed to a meat breed, White Suffolk are common, producing an excellent F1 cross lamb that will be sold for meat consumption.

A group of Merino lambs out on pasture. They will go for their first shearing soon.

I find as I move from place to place in Australia the country can change dramatically. The Gulnare area was some of the best farm land that I had seen, and with all the moist that they had received during the Spring (remember their seasons are opposite to ours) there were bumper crops everywhere.

I especially liked seeing all the canola, as it is a crop that I grew up seeing all the time in Canada. It is not very common in the Midwest in the United States.

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