Mardan stud raises the baa
A FAMILY passion for producing tasty meat has paid off for a Mardan sheep stud.
Baaramu White Dorper Stud won champion white dorper ram at the Royal Melbourne Show recently, with their young ram Mardan Man.
Judges praised the 15 month old for his superb ultrasound scan results, with an eye muscle depth of 48mm indicating impressive meat production and being true to type.
Mardan Man progressed to the coveted class after winning the ram under one and a half class.
The result pleased the stud’s John and Lorraine Banks, and their son Paul and daughter-in-law Samantha Banks.
“We worked on a considered breeding program and it’s paid off,” Lorraine said.
John added, “We were quite pleased he got there because when we left we were not sure how he was going to go. There were some real top studs there from New South Wales and Victoria.”
A Baaramu ewe with a lamb afoot also placed second in the ewe over one and a half years class.
This was the first Royal Melbourne Show outing for Baaramu, given the contest requires animals be on show for five days, including judging and public exhibition.
Mardan Man was sired by another Baaramu ram, Gippsland Boy, who was first in his class at the National White Dorper Championships in 2015, and Mardan Man’s genetic line also includes the famed ram, Loftus of Terraweena Stud, which sold to Brazil for $45,000 – a new Australian record at the time.
“He’s (Mardan Man) had a couple of firsts at local shows and he’s only young,” John said.
The next major outing for Mardan Man will be to the Australian Sheep and Wool Show in Bendigo in July 2018.
A South African breed, white dorpers have been in Australia since 1996 and appeal for their quality meat production and self shedding of fleece, which eliminates the labour and time involved with shearing and crutching, and keeps flystrike to a minimum.
White dorpers are unusual in that they offer three lambings in two years which means they are a highly productive breed.
“It’s a beautiful, gourmet meat. It’s not fatty meat and there are a few specialist dorper butchers and they have a following with chefs,” Lorraine said.
The dorper/ white dorper breeds now comprise 17 percent of the national flock, either via pure or cross breeding.
“They gain weight very quickly and the lambs are eating grass by two days old. They’re fast maturing and easy to care for,” Lorraine said. The ewes have excellent mothering ability and abundant milk.
The Banks family turned to sheep six years ago after retiring from dairy farming , and now run 120 stud sheep on 21 acres, in addition to a commercial flock on another property.
“Sheep are a lot easier than dairying,” John said.
The family has taken part in shows at Korumburra, Bunyip and Berwick, and is helping to drive the breed’s rising popularity in South Gippsland.
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