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TAS Country : October 21st 2010
News 4 Tasmanian Country Friday, October 22, 2010 SIZE MATTERS: Kevin Moore with one of the rams. New' breed primes stud for success It's a case of Show and tell for one of the pioneers of the White Suffolk sheep breed in Tasmania, writes Jennifer Crawley FOUR generations of Moores have farmed in a hidden valley north of Campania and sheep breeding is their speciality. The Moores' property is characterised by the White Kangaroo River which meanders through it, rolling hills and lush paddocks which have greened up after recent rains. The White Suffolk Penrise Stud is run by father and son Kevin and Dale Moore on the original soldier's settlement block. The Moore's flock is 25 years old and is the official breed of the 2010 Royal Hobart Show. Kevin has been breeding stud sheep since 1952 and is one of the original breeders of the Australian developed sheep. The official start of the White Suffolk breed came about at the 1985 Royal Melbourne Show. Kevin, 65, said he sat around a table with other farmers at the show to talk about the possibility of a new breed of sheep, a White Suffolk. He said at the time, there was antagonism in some farming circles about the black fibres, on the pure bred black-faced Suffolk, which contaminated the wool. ''We wanted to see if we could eliminate the black points out of the Suffolk by introducing a white gene from the Poll Dorset into the breed,'' Kevin said. ''Even if you're careful a black fibre can sneak into the white wool. ''When it's processed it looks like a pencil mark on a white piece of cloth and they can't use it.'' The original group of 14 grew into 700 flocks around Australia. ''It was a great challenge,'' Kevin said. ''We wondered if we could turn the Black Suffolk --- [which is] one of the oldest sheep breeds in the world --- around. ''We never thought 25 years ago we would be as far as we are now.'' He said the wool was incidental because the sheep were bred for mutton. ''The wool is nothing much more than a nuisance,'' Kevin said. ''It costs as much to remove the fleece as what the fleece is worth. ''They can only grow one thing to their best advantage and we want them to grow meat.'' Kevin and his wife Merle have lived in three different homes on their farm since 1942 --- none more than 300m apart. The husband and wife were born in the same tiny maternity cottage at Colebrook, grew up together and went to school together. The Moores' annual on-farm sale attracts buyers from Tasmania and interstate but it's also a chance for family and friends to catch up. ''It's a bit like a clearance sale,'' Kevin said. ''You make any excuse to go.'' The family are flat out for two weeks before the sale erecting yards, compiling catalogues and getting the sheep ready. Penrise Stud rams are sturdy and large, weighing up to 140kg. The Moores retain a limited amount of their ewes' offspring because the farm does not have a large carrying capacity. ''Anything we don't need at weaning time we sell off to the commercial markets, we only keep what's worthwhile,'' Kevin said. Father and son work like a team but have robust discussions when it comes to breeding. Dale is responsible for the Poll Dorsets, Kevin for the White Suffolks and Merle says she is the referee. Father and son trade and exhibit under the name of Penrise Stud. Dale's son Lochlan has his own small stud of White Suffolks and South Downs called Lochdale Stud. Dale, 46, said he can only recall two good seasons in 30 years of farming. He said the family has managed to scrape through with ''a lot of hand feeding and a lot of agistment''. There have been seasons that were average and reasonable but Dale rates this year as one of the toughest. ''Too cold and dry and not enough sunlight,'' he said. A prize Penrise lamb was barbecued at the Royal Hobart show this week. ''When I was young a hogget was a young ram weaned off his mum but hadn't cut his two teeth,'' Kevin said. $29,450* SAVE $2,850 off rrp $33,950* SAVE $3,250 off rrp
October 14th 2010
October 28th 2010