Victorian home for WA Sussex

Kate MatthewsCountryman

Twelve heifers in calf from a Sussex stud in Albany will become the foundation of the only Sussex stud in Victoria.

Alister Lyon and wife Doreen have been breeding Poll Sussex, which is now registered as a rare breed in Australia, on their farm since 1972.

It will be the first time progeny from their Willyung stud have been used as the basis for one in the east.

And that's not the only good news - the stud has also had an order for 150 heifers and five stud bulls for a stud starting up in New South Wales.

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The Lyons will supply part of the order along with Kendenup Poll Sussex breeders David and Lyn Slade.

The lead came from the British Sussex Society in the UK helping two members wanting to start studs in Australia using quality genetics.

It's a massive pat on the back for Mr Lyon after last year being recognised as an honorary vice-president by the UK Sussex Society for his contribution to the Sussex breed

"We've always had Sussex, we had them in England before we came out," he said.

"We had a dairy and always had a Sussex bull because they were nice and quiet. And we got a premium for the calves for beef."

When Mr Lyon started the stud, he used imported semen and a mixed herd of cows, mainly Poll Shorthorns.

"We've kept the polling going because it's been in big demand and they are much quieter for it," he said.

Willyung semen has been sent to South Africa, Zimbabwe and New Zealand.

When selecting bulls, Mr Lyon has sourced top genetics from around the world with polling the priority.

"We have brought in fresh bloodlines from South Africa and Britain where most are horned which we had to breed out.

"On the heifer side, it takes not much time at all and in two generations it will be gone but on the bull side, it's not quite as easy - they throw a few scurs and horns."

Mr Lyon sells his calves at nine months, when heifers average 290-300kg and steers 350kg, to his son, Sandy, who runs Willyung's feedlot in Albany.

Mr Lyon's passion for Sussex, of which there are not many in WA, is due to their easy calving attributes and carcase qualities.

"They are one of the original five red breeds of Britain," he said.

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