FEA­TURE BREED - POLL DORSET

North East & Goulburn Murray Farmer - - FRONT PAGE -

THE Poll Dorset was de­vel­oped in Aus­tralia in 1937, and has since gone onto be­come the most com­monly used ter­mi­nal sire in Aus­tralia.

Ini­tially bred from the Dorset Horn, a small group of skilled sheep breed­ers worked to elim­i­nate the horns while main­tain­ing the de­sired car­case at­tributes – re­sult­ing in the Poll Dorset body type we are used to.

Poll Dorsets have growth rates and early ma­tu­rity - key in any lamb pro­duc­tion sys­tem.

Poll Dorsets have very high growth rates, en­abling lambs to reach tar­geted mar­ket weights quickly.

Most Poll Dorset sired lambs are trade ready (18 – 22kg CWT) from 12 weeks of age.

The breed’s en­trenched back­ground is one of early ma­tu­rity, mean­ing lambs are sale ready and fin­ished for mar­ket at an ear­lier age.

This is a ma­jor ad­van­tage to the prime lamb pro­ducer, with re­duced man­age­ment costs and de­creased stress on the ewe.

Poll Dorsets have the added ad­van­tage of con­tin­u­ing their growth through to heavy ex­port weight lambs (28+kg CWT) - giv­ing lamb pro­duc­ers mar­ket­ing options for their busi­ness.

Lean meat yield (LMY) is the key mea­sure of car­case value, and Poll Dorset ge­net­ics lead the way in LMY, re­sult­ing in higher value car­cases.

Car­case eval­u­a­tions have also shown an ideal fat to mus­cle ra­tio.

This, along with an at­trac­tive meat colour, is highly im­por­tant in main­tain­ing con­sumer ap­peal and taste ac­cep­tance.

Poll Dorsets also ex­hibit ideal mus­cle pat- terns - a large loin and shapely hindquar­ter re­sult in a higher pro­por­tion of qual­ity cuts of meat.

Poll Dorset sired lambs are renowned for their su­pe­rior taste and ten­der­ness, and are sought after by butch­ers in all mar­ket lev­els.

When it comes to wool, Poll Dorsets are known for their ‘downs’ type.

Downs wool is recog­nised for its den­sity and springi­ness, mak­ing it ideal for doona and quilt pro­duc­tion.

In a com­mer­cial lamb pro­duc­tion sys­tem, the den­sity of the downs wool con­trib­utes to a higher qual­ity skin - these are more valu­able in the trade and are used for high wear items such as ugg boots and car seat cov­ers.

When it comes to re­pro­duc­tion, Poll Dorsets con­tinue to im­press.

Fer­til­ity is the great­est sin­gle pa­ram­e­ter for profitabil­ity in a com­mer­cial sheep flock.

Poll Dorset sheep have no re­stric­tive breed­ing pe­riod, mean­ing they have the abil­ity to breed all year round.

In a pure­bred flock, nor­mal lamb wean­ing per­cent­ages would be 120 per cent to 150 per cent - mul­ti­ple births of twins and triplets are com­mon.

While the ma­jor­ity of Poll Dorset rams are used as ter­mi­nal sires, their long recog­nised high fer­til­ity, viril­ity and func­tion­al­ity has en­hanced their com­mer­cial ac­cep­tance.

WELL BRED: Poll Dorset rams are the most com­monly used ter­mi­nal sire in Aus­tralia.

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