Success from SA bloodlines

Brothers Russell and Daryl Clark run 500-800 Merino ewes on their Wagga Wagga, Nsw property to breed first-cross Border Leicester-Merino ewes.THE Clark family from Kyeamba Station in Wagga Wagga, NSW have been breeding first-cross Border Leicester-Merino ewes for more than 50 years.

The stud and commercial operation is run by brothers Russell and Daryl and their families.

Set on 2200 hectares the family runs between 5000-8000 Merino ewes with bloodlines from South Australia.

They aim for long and plain bodies in their ewes as these types of ewes breed well in their colder and damp environment.

Last February, the Clarks sold 1000 first-cross BLM ewe lambs, seven months, at the Corowa special sheep sale.

They sold to a top of $262 and were bought by a Gippsland breeder.

Next February, they will have 1200 first-cross lambs for sale.

Having worked with this specific first-cross for a long time, Russell has seen several key benefits.

“The hybrid vigour with this first cross is tremendous,” he said.

“The lambs have a lot of get up and go.

“Border Leicesters have tremendous milking ability and the first cross ewes can successfully rare sucker lambs.

“The sucker lambs in turn also have high growth rates.”

Mr Clark has also found the first-cross ewe has a high lambing percentage and an overall fantastic mothering ability.

“They are versatile to all climatic conditions from Queensland through to Warrnambool and Gippsland,” he said.

“This makes the cross extremely valuable.”

When it comes to wool, the ewes cut heavy fleeces and produce an extra kilogram of wool.

Mr Clark said that the second crosses are consistent to true type, a factor that he believes to be crucial when selling a drought of lambs.

“A whole pen of second-cross lambs will yield and dress the same with consistency in their skin and meat,” he said.

“True to type is very appealing to butchers.”

Mr Clark said the Border Leicester-Merino was a proven cross – Australia’s favourite and most profitable ewe.

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