Hampshire Downs on trend

Hampshire Downs on trend


Sheep and Wool Show News
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WHEN Matthew Sherwood came on board to manage Wollondale Hampshire Downs stud nine years ago the breed was no where to be seen in the Southern Tablelands but its charm has since rubbed off.

WHEN Matthew Sherwood came on board to manage Wollondale Hampshire Downs stud nine years ago the breed was no where to be seen in the Southern Tablelands but its charm has since rubbed off.

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Mr Sherwood, Towrang, NSW, puts the heritage breed’s rising popularity – there are now about six other Hampshire breeders in the region – down to its performance over the hooks. 

“The kicker is they’ve got a power of meat but they’re very easy lambing, too,” he said.

Mr Sherwood and his wife Heidi manage Wollondale on behalf of John and Julia Cordukes who began the stud in 2007.

At home, Mr Sherwood runs Hampshire rams over his first-cross Border Leicester/Merino ewes. 

The results, he said, are marvelous.

“They really do have very small lambs and they’re great mothers.”

Seasoned champions: Judge Wayne Whale sashes Wollondale's champion Hampshire Downs ram, held by Matthew Sherwood, at Sydney Royal 2015.

Seasoned champions: Judge Wayne Whale sashes Wollondale's champion Hampshire Downs ram, held by Matthew Sherwood, at Sydney Royal 2015.

For the past nine years he’s been focusing on creating a flock which commercial producers will love.

“I’m trying to pack as much meat as we can into them while trying to keep the management traits so they continue to be easy care,” he said.

His hard work paid off at last year’s Australian Sheep and Wool Show where the stud won the paternal sire class of the objective competition. The same ram, Wollondale 680-15, went on to win the objective measurement class at the Melbourne Show.

There the fifteen-month-old ram weighed 138 kilograms and had an eye muscle area of 44.3 centimetres square.

To cap the year the stud was awarded ram and ewe of the year – an awarded handed down by the Australian Hampshire Down Association. Right now Mr Sherwood is preparing his team for ASWS.

He’s taking a team of young rams, an older ram and three young ewes and a younger ewe. 

“I have got one ram in particular which I like a lot. He was reserve champion at Sydney Royal this year to an older ram of ours.”

He’s also taking a swag of dogs to Bendigo to compete in the national yard-dog championships.

“I’m taking five Kelpies with me so I’ll be running madly between the two events.”

Mr Sherwood said ASWS is a perfect place to spread the word about the Hampshire Down breed and benchmark his work against others.

The Cordukes launched the stud with the purchase of sixty ewes and two rams from Marananga Stud in Tasmania. In 2012 they expanded with the purchase of 60 ewes from Ramsay Park stud.

Last year they introduced some genetics New Zealand.

The stud base now consists of 120 ewes.

Wollondale Hampshire Downs' ram 680-15, held here by young Rex Sherwood, won the paternal sire class of the objective competition at last year's ASWS.

Wollondale Hampshire Downs' ram 680-15, held here by young Rex Sherwood, won the paternal sire class of the objective competition at last year's ASWS.

Heidi and Matthew Sherwood, managers of Wollondale Hampshire Downs stud, are Bendigo bound.

Heidi and Matthew Sherwood, managers of Wollondale Hampshire Downs stud, are Bendigo bound.

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