Livestock

Expecting a strong ram sale

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September 13, 2017

Robert Smith ahead of Heathmar Stud's annual sale

Robert Smith ahead of Heathmar Stud's annual sale

Robert Smith ahead of Heathmar Stud's annual sale

Operating since 1955, there are decades of knowledge within Murchison’s Heathmar Stud.

The Poll Dorset stud, run by Robert and Heather Smith alongside their son and grandson, Phillip and Todd, has put an emphasis on producing lambs for the export market.

Mr Smith, who has been running the stud since the 1960s, said it was a little different to many other studs.

‘‘We feel we have a slight advantage over other studs that we don’t have a commercial side because we know what the commercial farmers need because we take our lambs through to try and make the best lambs we can produce,’’ he said.

‘‘We take our lambs to the heavy export market mostly, and our number one thing is length in our rams, you must have lengths to get weight.

‘‘Length is paramount, number one is length and then you try and build your body as best you can, but that’s not always easy.’’

Having garnered a strong reputation in the region over the years, it was only recently the stud started looking inwards to source its rams.

‘‘Up until about five years ago we never used a ram of our own, we always bought rams in,’’ Mr Smith said.

‘‘We had the added advantage that after two years they could go back into our commercial lot.

‘‘But the last two or three years, we have started to use our own because we felt our rams are as good as any we could buy.

‘‘Originally we started, right back in 1955, with Valma blood but we’ve used a lot of different blood over the years.’’

After more than 50 years in the business, Mr and Mrs Smith are taking a step back from the stud and retiring to Shepparton, leaving the business in the hands of the rest of the family, a succession plan of sorts, according to Mr Smith.

The fourth-generation farm will host its annual spring sale on Thursday, September 28, with 90 rams up for sale.

Mr Smith said they were in ‘‘magnificent condition’’ and is looking forward to a solid turnout after a great couple of years for lamb prices.

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