The wagyu of meat sheep produced in the Burnett
OVER the past few decades the numbers in Queensland’s sheep flock have steadily declined.
Deregulation, the threat and cost of feral predators and a boom in the price of beef pushed many sheep cockies out of the market.
But a new breed, the Australian white, has generated keen interest, leading Nanango grazier Greg Patch to transition into the meat sheep market.
He’s built up a small flock of stud rams and ewes and is eyeing off running an artificial insemination program in the not-too-distant future.
“Graham Gilmore was the bloke that started the breed,” Mr Patch said.
“About 11 years ago Graham used to breed polled dorsets. He was over in Brazil and he saw these sheep and he thought to himself, ‘Why do you really have to have wool on sheep?’ ”
Mr Gilmore blended four different breeds of sheep at his family’s stud at Oberon in New South Wales.
They include wellcarcased poll dorsets, muscular woolled texels from Holland, the south fat-tailed vanrourey and white dorpers.
After 11 years of artificial insemination and embryo management, the Australian white was born.
A cut above the rest
The result is a sheep with a quiet temperament that is both tall and long in the carcase, with fat marbling consistent with what you’d find in wagyu beef.
As a clean-shedding sheep there’s no need to shear them, which cuts down on farm management cost and labour.
PROMISING: Greg Patch, from Beauvale, breeds Australian whites and he reckons they are the future of the meat sheep industry.