Master breed wins interest

Headshot of Bob Garnant
Bob GarnantCountryman
Apollo, will be offered at the National SheepMaster Ram Sale.
Camera IconApollo, will be offered at the National SheepMaster Ram Sale. Credit: Bob Garnant/Countryman, Bob Garnant

SheepMaster, a clean skin meat sheep, has evolved over nearly 30 years into its own special breed and type, according to SM founding breeder Neil Garnett.

Mr Garnett and his team are preparing for the second annual National SheepMaster Ram Sale to be held on November 5 at parent stud White Dog Lane, in Elleker, near Albany. They are expecting strong interest.

“We will be offering another top quality selection of rams, 100 on offer showing exceptional traits required for tough Australian conditions,” he said.

The onsite and online sale, to be conducted at 1pm by Elders, will be interfaced with AuctionsPlus and will include a line-up of rams from four SheepMaster studs located in NSW.

A feature of the sale will be a line-up of top-quality stud sires followed by a group of specialty selected rams and some selected rams.

SheepMaster uses an internal scoring system which focuses on feet, walkability, constitution and skin shedding quality.

Sale day visitors can also get a firsthand look at a recent acquisition to the SM parent stud’s breeding program — new sire Tattykeel Anzac 63, secured for $150,000 from private negotiations with Australian White stud breeders Graham and Martin Gilmore, of Black Springs in NSW.

Mr Garnett said the purchase of Anzac 63 was to add completely new genetics to his stringent selections in pursuing excellence in the SheepMaster breed.

“We don’t intend to breed an Australian White offset, but we must strive to constantly improve the quality of the SheepMaster line,” he said.

“Anzac has some traits, namely black points that we believe would be beneficial.

“He is a ram to suit a purpose in Australia at the moment.”

Mr Garnett said the shedding sheep industry was very new and still evolving and offered a very small, tight source of genetics in its early development.

“SheepMaster has the courage to plan for five years in advance to evolve new families, thereby ensuring that we don’t have inbreeding issues,” he said.

“We believe in transparency and as documented on our website we are keeping all our breeders well informed.”

Mr Garnett expects the new investment in Australian Whites genetics will take five years before it has an impact.

“This is the cost of doing business as the SM parent stud principal,” he said.

“My experience tells me that only one in three new introductions succeed, but we must continually experiment to improve the SM breed, selecting the best genetics available in Australia.

“We are unique in taking this approach in an open and transparent manner.”

Mr Garnett said Anzac 63 would be on trial with a specific group of cross-section quality ewes.

“We hope it will produce a contribution to our future plans,” he said.

“With the creation of shedding sheep being so new, no stud has reached a level near peak potential.

“We must introduce new genetics at strategic intervals to reach a level of genetic supremacy in both Australia and globally.”

In the meantime, Mr Garnett said SheepMaster ram buyers have been very pleased with the quality available.

“We would like to see sale results remaining solid and realistic, with both buyers and vendors going home happy,” he said.

“SheepMaster’s aim is to grow the breeder base to produce quality flock rams at prices in the $2000 range which is affordable to the commercial breeders.”

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