Bros at top

Some of Rogers family’s first-cross ewes, which had just been recenlty shorn.THE Rogers family, trading under the Rogers Bros name, have been breeding first-cross Border Leicester-Merino ewes for more than 30 years and are a regular sale topper at the Ballarat sales in December and January.

In more recent years, third generation brothers Glenn and Brent Rogers have inspired the family to branch out to include a Border Leicester and Poll Dorset stud run on-farm at Pura Pura.

In 1998, Glenn, with father Jeff and uncles Brian and Barry, saw an opportunity to start breeding their own Border Leicester rams with the dispersal of The Oaks Stud at Kerang.

“My family had been using other BL stud rams over their Merino flock for first-cross ewe production but decided they wanted to breed their own,” Glenn said.

“I was 17 and doing a farm apprenticeship at the time, so my dad, my uncles and I bought up to 40 ewes and a ram at the sale and we started the stud together.”

Rogers Bros would select the best rams from the stud to use over their Merino flock, the rest were sold privately in the area, while the ewes were retained for the stud.

Two year later, after attending the Royal Melbourne Show in 2000, Glenn bought the supreme champion Border Leicester ram from the Retallack Stud, Ariah Park, NSW, at $4200.

Glenn has mainly bought Retallack rams since and the results show why.

His BL ewes scanned 220 per cent this year, ably assisted by a triplet ram bought two years ago, which was also sired by a triplet.

The stud flock now consists of about 100 breeders, producing about 50 rams a year.

Glenn said they once produced up to 100 rams a year but cut the flock back because he had to shear them himself and concerns over the diminishing Merino flock.

It was this trend that also inspired Glenn and his brother Brent start up a Poll Dorset stud, also run on-farm.

“We noticed more and more people retaining their first-cross BLM ewes, which we thought would decrease demand for Border Leicester rams,” Glenn said.

“So we thought, why not start breeding rams that they would want to put over those first-cross ewes?”

The boys bought 30 Poll Dorset ewes from Armadale Park, NSW, and rams from Kurralea, Ariah Park, NSW, and now have a 100-head stud Poll Dorset flock.

The Poll Dorset rams sold locally, while the ewes are used as replacements.

Some rams are also kept to use in the family’s first-cross ewe flock for prime lamb production.

The prime lambs are also sold at Ballarat and eight weeks ago averaged $138.

But the Rogers family are more well-known in the area for their quality first-cross ewes.

The Rogers family run 2000 Merino ewes, which are joined to BL rams run on-farm then are grown out to 1.5yo and sold at Ballarat in either the December or January sale, dependent on the season.

The summer Ballarat sales are a big deal for the Rogers family, who regularly top the sale and break State records themselves or their Border Leicester bloodlines do.

This year, in the January sale, they made $308 for 1.5yo first-cross ewes.

Glenn says despite much competition and increased popularity in breeds such as Dohnes, SAMMs and composites, they will stick with Border Leicesters.

“It is hard to see which way it will go when it comes to value of the breeds,” he said.

“I plan to stick with Border Leicesters because that is what our family has done for past 30-plus years and we have seen no reason to change.”

This year, Roger Bros plans to sell about 500 first-cross ewes at Ballarat.

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