Shirlee Downs supreme

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Bob GarnantCountryman
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Nathan and Julie Ditchburn, of Golden Hill White Suffolk stud, Kukerin, and their children, Matilda and Thomas, with their interbreed champion ram exhibit.
Camera IconNathan and Julie Ditchburn, of Golden Hill White Suffolk stud, Kukerin, and their children, Matilda and Thomas, with their interbreed champion ram exhibit. Credit: Countryman

The Squiers family, of Shirlee Downs Poll Dorset stud, Quairading, won the supreme interbreed title during the British and Australasian Sheep Breeds competition at the Make Smoking History Wagin Woolorama.

Stud co-principal Chris Squiers, whose family runs two separate Poll Dorset stud prefixes, said it was the first Shirlee Downs ewe to win the top award at Woolorama. Their Dongadilling stud won the coveted sash with a ewe in 2011.

“It takes a good ewe to produce good rams and, in doing so, provide ongoing progression to any stud and commercial enterprise,” he said.

“We aim to breed sheep with good structure with frames that pack a lot of meat.

“This under one-year-old ewe was a first drop sired by Ulandi Park North 55, a ram we bought in South Australia, and out of Shirlee Downs 20.

“Running two separate Poll Dorset studs allows us to push the genetics in different directions which enables a productive comparison.”

The Squiers run 1000 stud sheep, including Poll Dorsets and Prime SAMMs, and have a commercial flock in the thousands, where they cross the two breeds over Merino ewes from their 3000-head self-replacing Merino flock.

Judge Sandy Forbes, of Royston SAMM stud, Napier, said the Shirlee Downs ewe edged out the interbreed champion ram, because of its wonderful femininity and long body with muscling through the hindquarter.

The interbreed ram title was won by the Ditchburn family, of Golden Hill White Suffolk stud, Kukerin.

Stud co-principal Nathan Ditchburn was happy to be back in contention, after taking out the ‘best in the shed’ last year with a ewe.

“This is our first ram to win best ram in the shed,” he said.

Mr Ditchburn said The ram was sired by Bundarra Downs 166938.

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