Prime Lamb: Building an easy care flock at Woorinyan

Prime Lamb: Building an easy care flock at Woorinyan

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MATERNAL QUALITY: Exceptional fertility, and the ability to produce a lamb every eight months, is a another bonus of Craig Shulz's Aussie White ewes. Photos: Rachael Webb

MATERNAL QUALITY: Exceptional fertility, and the ability to produce a lamb every eight months, is a another bonus of Craig Shulz's Aussie White ewes. Photos: Rachael Webb

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AUSTRALIAN Whites have been the perfect addition at Woorinyan, near Culcairn, with the Schulz family now looking to dramatically increase sheep numbers over the next few years.

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AUSTRALIAN Whites have been the perfect addition at Woorinyan, near Culcairn, with the Schulz family now looking to dramatically increase sheep numbers over the next few years.

Craig and Lisa Schulz bought his first Aussie Whites, 320 scanned in lamb ewes from Narromine, just over two years ago, and in that time they've grown the enterprise to 700 ewes, with plans to increase to 3000 in the future.

Mr Schulz said his sons - Ben, a vet, and Sam, who's studying agronomy and agribusiness at university - were the driving force behind the decision to go back into sheep.

"Both boys are wanting to come home," he said.

"We used to have Merinos, but I wanted something I didn't have to shear or crutch, so they wore me down.

"They'll end up taking over the business so I've got to let them have a bit of rein to do what they want.

"Sam has been working at home a bit in between uni and he makes a fair few calls on pastures and the cropping side of the business, and Ben has more input into the breeding and genetics on the livestock side."

The family uses rams from Kalnari stud, Tarcutta, focusing on quick, early growth, good structure and good feet.

The Aussie Whites are run alongside an 800-cow breeder herd, as well as a small flock of Dohnes, which they're using as a comparison against the Aussie Whites.

QUICK GROWTH: The Schulz family uses rams from Kalnari stud, Tarcutta.

QUICK GROWTH: The Schulz family uses rams from Kalnari stud, Tarcutta.

"Ideally we'd like to run 3000 ewes and cut our cattle numbers back to about 600.

"The return in sheep is a mile ahead of the cattle."

The easy care factor is the biggest benefit of the breed, Mr Schulz said.

"They're great foragers," he said.

"During the drought they held condition so well and got back in lamb with very little supplementary feeding, while we were spending a fortune feeding the cattle.

"We hand fed every day for 18 months, but the season has turned around now, and it's as good as it's ever been."

Exceptional fertility, and the ability to produce a lamb every eight months, is a another bonus. "We would average over 200 per cent lambs per ewe, per year," Mr Schulz said. "We miss out on a wool cut but you make it up in numbers, with 85pc to 90pc rejoined three months after lambing.

"They're great little producers. They're tough as nails and can live on nothing, and keep getting pregnant."

The ewes are run on improved pastures, but were supplemented with pellets during the drought, along with straw.

The family also grows oats and triticale for forage crops, as well as lucerne and ryegrass pastures.

The lambs have no trouble with growth, targeting the domestic markets, weighing about 21 kilograms to 25kg dressed at 18 to 22 weeks.

"We've sold direct to Junee and some through the saleyards at Corowa, depending on what the market's doing," Mr Schulz said.

"They grow like mad. We have no issue getting to those weights."

The majority of ewe lambs are retained, and this year they'll keep 300 to 400.

"Aussie Whites are pretty hard to find to buy, so we bought the best quality we could find, retained the daughters and built up that way. We'll retain the top end each year until we get numbers up to where we want them."

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