Looking for a breed that would be easy care and low maintenance, they decided Australian White sheep would be the way to go.
“We had a lot of leftover feed last year, so we thought sheep would allow us to better utilise some of the stubbles,” Mr Wood said.
“I’ve got no interest in wool, and we wanted a breed that we wouldn’t have to shear when we’re busy with cropping, and who don’t have flies during harvest, and the Australian Whites really fit that brief.”
Just one year ago, they bought a variety of crossed Australian White sheep.
“We bought 220 Wiltipoll sheep, who had 330 first-cross Wiltipoll/Australian White lambs at foot, and sold the cull ewes and wether lambs, and kept the remainder,” he said.
“We then bought 60 Dorper/Australian White second and third-cross lambs.”
All of the ewe lambs are now aged between 10 and 11 months.
“I’ve joined the 150 Wiltipoll/Australian White ewes to an Australian White, and they are due to lamb in October, and the other 60, we only just got them, so we’ll join them in spring to lamb in autumn,” he said.
He said they will again sell cull ewes and wethers, and will continue to cross the ewes with Australian White rams to work towards a purebred Australian White.
“We sell to the Australian Lamb Company (ALC) in Colac, and they seem to look for an 18-32 kilogram carcase weight, which our first lambs managed to reach in about six months,” he said.
“That’s another advantage of the breed, you might not be getting huge weights, but they can hit their targets in just six months.
“The idea is that in the future, some people are joining every eight months, so you’re getting three lambs every two years, and if you had a lambing percentage of 130 per cent, that would work out to two lambs a year.
“And at ALC, they’re chasing that sort of meat quality, so they offer a premium for Australian White meat.”
Mr Wood has purchased three Australian White rams, one from Remah Australian White stud, Strathkellar, and two from Grathlyn Australian White stud, Mudgee, NSW.
“We weren’t sure what the best way was to come in, it’s really hard to buy purebreds, so we started with some crosses, and will keep using Australian White rams to do it properly,” he said.