The Dorset Horn can still offer plenty to the commercial lamb industry, according to 2018 Australian Sheep and Wool Show judge Brendan Mansbridge.
Mr Mansbridge, from Brooklyn Poll Dorsets, Eugowra, NSW, was impressed with the animals shown by the two exhibitors in the Dorset Horn competition at the show.
“The Dorset Horn is one of the breeds that helped launch the lamb industry and they've still got a lot to offer with the muscle and the growth that they display,” he said.
Mr Mansbridge selected the ram under 1.5 years old shown by the Grieve family’s Hillend Partners, Clarkes Hill, as his champion ram.
The ram was carrying the most meat, the most width and height and most muscling down the rump, he said.
“He has that little extra width across the loin, is very correct on his feet; a very well-balanced sheep and just the most complete package on the day with the most to offer the lamb industry,” Mr Mansbridge said.
The champion ewe, from the under 1.5 year old class, was also shown by Hillend.
“She is the champion just for that extra bit of power she displays, just that width through the loin,” he said.
“I am looking for that meat yield, that carcase shape and the structure as well.
“She's just a really well-balanced sheep right through from her shoulder through to her hind quarter.”
Timberlea Dorset Horns from Strathmerton took the reserve champion ewe award with one of three ewe lambs it showed.
Mr Mansbridge said he really really admired the young ewe lamb.
“The growth she's got, the bone width across the body, the width across the loin and just that dense wool, she's everything we want to see in a Dorset Horn lamb or in any terminal breed lamb,” he said.
“That's what we are looking for and she has it in spades.”
Robert Grieve said the champion ram and ewe were by the same sire, Pinewalla 69-14, which they bought in 2015.
The ram had bred well for Hillend, producing consistent progeny.
Mr Grieve said he bred Dorset Horns, which now had only 538 breeding ewes in Australia, partly for sentimental value as his mother’s grandfather had started breeding them in 1931.
“Sometimes I think I should get out of them because of the horns and the extra work you've got to do,” he said.
“But it would be a shame to see the breed die out for a what it's done for the meat industry.
‘The Poll Dorset came out of Dorset Horn and the Dorpers as well.”