The oldest Poll Dorset stud still operating in Victoria will offer ewes for the first time in its 65 year history.
Flock 10, operated by Robert and Phillip Smith and their families at Murchison, Vic, is having an online reduction sale on October 21 via AuctionsPlus.
Phillip said it was a big move for the stud - the fourth oldest in operation across Australia - as they have never sold ewes from their stud flock before.
“It is a great opportunity for potential buyers to obtain our ewe genetics for the first time - we will be offering about 150 ewes, keeping only a handful ourselves as we scale back the stud to focus on other areas of the operation,” he said.
“They will be the entire flock of 1.5, 2.5 and 3.5 year olds, we won’t retain any from those drops, and their entire pedigrees along with videos will be available online. They are right in the prime breeding age for the buyers and ideal for anyone wanting to get a few more stud ewes.
“They will be sold in October prior to joining, empty and ready for the purchasers to put to the ram of their choice.The ewes will feature Ulandi Park, Abelene, Tattykeel, Rene and Valley Vista bloodlines.”
Phillip’s grandfather began Heathmar in 1955 with the prefix coming from Phillip’s mother's name - Heather Margaret.
Heather said her father Charles Gerrish purchased 25 Dorset ewes from HP Watson & Son and then in conjunction with neighbours John and Ian McIntosh (flock 9) introduced a Valma (flock 2) sire to the stud. Valma remained a strong influence on the stud.
“My father was breeding fat lambs with crossbred ewes, and there was a lot of interest in the breed at that time, so he decided to start the stud,” she said.
In 1963 Charles transferred the flock to Heather and husband Robert - who was no stranger to the stud game, with his family having run Dumbreck Dorset Horn stud since he was 15.
“It was hard going early, breeding off the horn, and it took a number of years for people to swing that way - that was the challenge as people liked the horn sheep,” Robert said.
“We were one of the quickest to have the poll brand which was a great achievement, and we’ve continued improving the standard of the flock, with heavy culling and focus on structure, over the years.
Heather said Poll Dorset sheep had changed enormously during their tenure, getting bigger and longer.
“One of the challenges has been retaining true Dorset composition while trying to get bigger sheep. We’ve purchased a lot of stud rams over the years, with sires from Tattykeel, Ashbank and Gloroy having the biggest influence on sheep we currently breed.”