Family’s winning tradition
A DECISION by Andrew Hogarth to continue his family’s long tradition of breeding Southdowns sheep has proved to be a profitable move.
Mr Hogarth is the fifth generation of the family to run a Southdown breeding operation after setting up his Kirkdale stud about 10 years ago.
His sourced his original stud sheep from his father’s stud, also called Kirkdale, and now runs the sheep on a family property near Evandale.
“The main reason I started it was more for historical side of things,” Mr Hogarth said.
“We’ve had Southdowns in the family since 1884 and I thought I’d just run about 20 or 30 ewes to keep it going.”
Kirkdale is the second-oldest Southdown stud in the country and flock No. 11 in the breed’s registry.
While it was tradition that first saw him get involved with the breed, after a resurgence in popularity of the Southdowns and increasing demand for rams Mr Hogarth now runs about 100 Southdown ewes.
Next week, together with his partner Aneika Crosswell, Mr Hogarth will hold his second on-property ram sale.
The stud recently had significant success in the ring at the breed’s annual national show at Geelong.
The Kirkdale rams won a swag of ribbons, including the champion junior Southdown ram, grand champion Southdown ram, champion interbreed ram and the reserve champion sheep of the show.
“I knew I had some sheep that were there and about, but I didn't expect to win what we did,” Mr Hogarth said.
“It’s the biggest show for the breed, so to be able to win what we did was a surprise.”
Of the six rams he took to the ring at Geelong only one did not get a first-place ribbon and that one got a second instead.
Mr Hogarth said the breed’s popularity now was based on a number of factors.
“They were probably under-rated for a long time,” he said.
“The breed has changed a lot too as people have brought in new genetics, especially from New Zealand. They’ve stretched them out but also managed to keep the muscling in them.”
Low birth weights combined with excellent carcass attributes, particularly body length, have made Southdowns sought after by commercial producers.
Mr Hogarth said his breeding program aimed to maintain the breed’s carcass characteristics and muscling while breeding sheep that are not too tall.
“I really want to breed the shorter, chunkier shape that the breed is so well-known for.
“They could get too tall if we’re not careful, so I choose the rams I use carefully.”
Mr Hogarth said the addition of the breed to Lambplan had also been a positive move.
“A lot of people really like to see figures on the rams and it’s definitely a handy tool,” he said.
“You’ve still got to do a visual assessment though because that’s important too.”
Three of the Kirkdale Geelong show team, including the champion ram, will be offered as Lot 1 at the stud’s sale on November 15.
All up there will be 36 Southdown rams for sale as well ass even South down Cha roll a is cross rams. The sale starts at 11am.
CHUNKY CHAMPS: Andrew Hogarth and Aneika Crosswell with their four-year-old son Cooper and Kirkdale’s grand champion Southdown ram and reserve champion ram from the Geelong ring.