Numbers add up at Karrawarra

Karrawarra's numbers add up

Business Profiles
IN LAMB: Twin-bearing Highlander ewe lambs.

IN LAMB: Twin-bearing Highlander ewe lambs.

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Karrawarra has been developing an industry leading sheep stud utilising the Highlander and Focus-Prime breeds.

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BUSINESS PROFILE

Leo and Vanessa Herbert are a fourth-generation farming family from Eurongilly, NSW, and for the past five years have been working closely with Focus Genetics, developing an industry leading sheep stud utilising the Highlander and Focus-Prime breeds.

Focus Genetics is one of the largest red meat stud breeding operations in the world and offers enormous genetic support and advice to the team at Karrawarra.

Karrawarra is the nucleus flock for Highlander and Focus-Prime in Australia, breeding the Highlander as a stabilised breed to drive fertility, survival and profitability, and the Focus-Prime to drive meat yield and eating quality.

Supplying animals that drive production efficiency is Karrawarra's focus.

Mr Herbert said Highlanders, bred as a maternal composite, were highly efficient animals that drove profitability through their moderate adult weight of 65 kilograms, while weaning up to 180 percent.

Lambs grew fast to supply the trade market at 22kg, with all lambs gone by 18 weeks.

He said the Focus-Prime terminal sire delivered low birth weight and high growth rates, while being a trait leader for eating quality traits.

"I wanted to find a moderate-sized ewe that was highly fertile with industry leading survival and was having trouble finding such a thing when I came across Focus Genetics," he said.

"We originally approached Focus Genetics to buy rams for our commercial enterprise however have since developed an excellent relationship that has grown into a breeding partnership with them."

Today, Karrawarra sells rams to every state in Australia and stud manager Hannah Anderson said part of the appeal was the stud's commercial focus.

They said building up a client base worked so seamlessly thanks to the work of Focus Genetics.

"Focus Genetics had done a lot of work in marketing, branding and promoting the benefits of the breeds," Mr Herbert said.

They run 8500 commercial ewes, approximately 1200 stud ewes, and market 350-400 rams annually.

Mr Herbert said they had just come off two "really tough" years seasonally but were in a better position now.

"Do the sums - a 65kg ewe will take 20pc less feed to maintain than an 85kg ewe, in feeding a few thousand head, you can save $400 a week," he said.

"As well as this, we aim to have ewes lambing down at 12 months, which increases the productivity over the lifetime of the ewe.

"Our ewe weights and feed bills are coming down, and our scanning percentages and survival is going up."

He said they were able to manage their feed reserves and crops to produce silage, barley and straw that they were able to feed their stock to get them through the dry conditions.

"The sheep did really well during the dry times, maintaining their condition and joining up very well in containment pens," he said.

Ms Anderson worked with Focus Genetics in Australia before starting her role with Karrawarra, and Mr Herbert said she was "the perfect fit".

The story Numbers add up at Karrawarra first appeared on The Land.

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