Shropshires are the perfect sheep for orchardists, according to the 2018 Bendigo Sheep and Wool Show exhibitor of the champion Shropshire ram and ewe Marilyn Mangione, Clarendon Shropshires, Strathbogie.
Ms Mangione is dedicated to keeping the rare breed going and insists that any buyers of her stock commit to keeping them pure.
She said the breed was ideal for orchardists as the animals had a long body, short legs and neck and could not stand on their back legs.
This made them ideal to graze under trees as they could reach only high enough to trim the trees.
They also ate dropped fruit, reducing orchard trash.
A buyer of some of her sheep South Australian orchardist Phil Marriott had been able to obtain first stage organic accreditation when he replaced mowing under trees with grazing Shropshires, she said.
Ms Mangione was the only exhibitor in the breed, showing four animals.
Judge Marilyn Stevens, Myamyn, said the champion ram had a beautiful top line and good structure.
She said the two ewes were true-to-type Shropshires, but she favoured the one without lamb at foot.
"She's smart, she's correct, she's a very classical Shropy ewe," she said.
Ms Mangione said the breed was increasing in numbers in Australia.
She recently had her entire flock tested and was free from Ovine Johnes Disease, increasing the opportunity to sell or swap stock with other breeders.