Countryman - - FRONT PAGE - Bob Gar­nant

The in­au­gu­ral Lamb Mas­ter field day showed pro­gres­sive signs of growth for the rel­a­tively new sheep meat breed, with vis­i­tors keen to learn more.

Stud prin­ci­pals Neil Gar­nett and Brent Wat­son hosted the Mar­garet River event, which at­tracted 75 like-minded pro­duc­ers — in­clud­ing many who have been fol­low­ing the Lamb Mas­ter ge­netic jour­ney, which in­volved cross­ing eight dif­fer­ent sheep breeds.

“It is on­go­ing work in progress; how­ever, we are at a stage to re­lease 70 ex­cep­tional rams this year which will grow to 150 rams in 2019,” Mr Gar­nett said.

“We has sev­eral in­quiries through­out the day and are also in pre-ne­go­ti­a­tions with over­seas in­ter­ests.

“This idea to pro­duce a clean­skin sheep suited for WA con­di­tions be­gan 25 years ago with WA’s im­por­ta­tion of 10,000 em­bryos (Dor­per and Da­mara) from South Africa back in 1994.

“Th­ese breeds of­fered har­di­ness and strong fam­ily ori­en­ta­tion for easy man­age­ment and con­tain­ment and were jus­ti­fied for pro­duc­ers who just want to fo­cus on meat.

“The Lamb Mas­ter con­cept has im­proved on those ini­tial sheep in ar­eas of im­por­tance.

“WA con­di­tions re­quire an an­i­mal to walk up to 10km to wa­ter, re­quir­ing the cor­rect skele­ton con­for­ma­tion, which also al­lows a pro­duc­tive jaw to eat.

“With only meat as in­come, fer­til­ity and moth­er­ing abil­ity must be over 150 per cent and this we have also achieved re­mark­ably well with 160 to 170 per cent lamb­ing. Milk sup­ply is am­ble with par­tial ge­net­ics from the East Friesian sheep.

“Our se­lec­tion cri­te­ria has and will be suited to the Lamb Mas­ter’s pro­gres­sive re­quire­ments.”

Mr Gar­nett said Lamb Mas­ter rams would be of­fered on a vi­su­alonly ba­sis.

“We have no plans to look at Es­ti­mated Sheep Breed­ing Val­ues, rather keep every­thing sim­ple so not to com­pli­cate pro­ducer’s de­ci­sions,” he said.

Don­ny­brook White Dor­per pro­ducer Arthur Lukins said he was keen to in­crease the meat in his flock plus add more per­for­mance with con­sid­er­a­tion to­wards Lamb Mas­ter sheep. View­ing the dis­play of Lamb Mas­ter sheep, Mr Lukins said they ap­peared to have good sound con­for­ma­tion.

Lake King pro­ducer Quin­ten Evans said the sheep dis­played good muscling and tem­per­a­ment.

Pic­tures: Bob Gar­nant

Lamb Mas­ter co-prin­ci­pals Brent Wat­son and Tahita Lang, of Mar­garet River, with a dis­play of the sheep.

Lamb Mas­ter co-prin­ci­pal Neil Gar­nett dis­cusses the ben­e­fits of the breed to field day vis­i­tor Arthur Lukins, of Don­ny­brook.

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