Flock 320 Faraday Park is celebrating 60 years of operation in 2020 and the Tasmanian stud is going from strength to strength.
Current principal Paul Day has been behind the wheel of Faraday Park alongside Sunnybanks stud for the past decade, and has enjoyed plenty of success.
Paul’s grandfather Peter began the stud in 1960 at Ulverston, Tasmanina,and his son, also Peter, carried it on from 1968.
Peter and wife Rosemary Day spent their first four years at the helm of Faraday Park in NSW, but soon decided it was “too hot and dry” and returned to Tassie.
Peter is humble about his reign running the stud, and prefers to talk about the success his son Paul has had since he took over.
He did however set the foundations for that success, starting the stud’s annual on-property sale and developing the type of sheep Faraday Park is now known for.
Peter describes the Poll Dorset as an “excellent breed, great meat producer - I just love them”.
“The Poll Dorset is totally different from the beginning, they used to be a little low short nuggety lamb, now they are bigger, taller, longer, heavier - they’ve gone from strength to strength,” he said.
“They’ve got muscle, big hindquarters, ease of lambing - years ago there used to be a lot of trouble with lambing as they were heavy in the shoulders, but that has all changed - now one of their key traits is ease of lambing.
“They were always a popular breed, but prime lambs themselves have increased in popularity.”
The returns in the sheep game are one of the biggest changes during his tenure at Faraday Park, according to Peter.
“Starting out we got up to $1000 each (for rams), not getting up to $10-12,000,” he said.
“The price of lambs in general too, the lamb and sheep market is really really good - back in our day you were getting $20 alamb, now it’s $200.”
Peter’s time in the show ring was a highlight for him, including his first Hobart Royal Show champion ram and ewe, and first prize at the Perth Royal Show.
“(My highlights) were catching up with people at shows and winning a ribbon or two, and of course getting some sales.”
Paul Day has continued “winning a ribbon or two” in recent years, and took out the supreme sheep of the Melbourne Royal Show in 2018 with a Faraday Park Poll Dorset ram, in what was the first year the stud had exhibited there.
Paul says he’s learnt plenty from his dad over the years, and continues his philosophy of quality over quantity.
There are 40 Poll Dorset ewes in the Faraday Park stud, and another 40 in Sunnybanks, making for a very tight selection process.
“We utilise heavy culling to maintain a high quality, because we have limited numbers we only keep 10 young ewes every year,” Paul said.
“This means we keep a very close eye on genetics - you get to know each ewe and their family lines.
“I focus on ease of lambing - that’s what it is all about - smooth shoulders and neck length to ensure the lambs come out well and then have the vigour to grow.
“We’ve moved with the breed type towards longer bodies and away from short necks and wooly heads, as well as still keeping the early maturing type, which Poll Dorsets are renowned for.”
Faraday Park and Sunnybanks will offer a number of stud sires and select ewes at the Australasian Dorset Championships Online Sale this year to celebrate their 60th birthday.