About the Property
Barwon is situated 42km southwest of Wagga Wagga. The farm itself comprises 2200 hectares of undulating red loam to clay loam. There are about 560mm of average annual rainfall.
In addition to our sheep studs, we have a commercial flock of 1000 cross-bred ewes. Our annual winter cropping is significant, with approximately 1100ha sown to crop every year and up to 120ha of improved pasture sown down every year.
Our cropping program is dominated by 600ha of wheat and 200ha of canola. The rest is made up of lupins (narrowleaf for stockfeed and albus for human food or stockfeed), field peas (for human food or stockfeed) and barley (for stockfeed or malt). Up to 200ha of the wheat crop is dual-purpose or grazing (grazing with grain recovery), utilized to fill the feed gap during the winter. Rams are grazed on the grazing wheat from May through mid-August, depending on seasonal conditions.
Improved pastures are based on Lucerne and sub clover. These species supply high-quality grazing and are conserved as hay or silage providing high-quality supplementary feed.
History of Sheep Breeding at Barwon
The Yates family have been breeding sheep at Yerong Creek since 1940, when Henry Yates began breeding Dorset Horns, a noted dual purpose sheep.In 1964, his son Rob extended the breeding program to include Poll Dorsets, and Rob’s sons Peter and Mark introduced White Suffolk to Barwon in 1991.
The Poll Dorset is a short-wool, meat producing sheep; it’s by far the most popular of the terminal sire breeds for production of prime lamb in Australia.
The breed was developed between 1937 and 1954 by introducing the poll gene into Dorset Horn flocks from two other poll breeds. A strict program of back-crossing was used to achieve close to 100% Dorset Horn blood.
The characteristics of the breed, such as rapid growth, superior fleshing and muscular development, make them ideally suited for the meat trade.
White Suffolk is an Australian breed, proven as a prime lamb terminal sire across a wide range of Australian environments. Lambs sired by White Suffolk rams are noted for their high quality, white, down-type wool. White Suffolks are ideal for the Elite lamb requirements at carcass weights of 20 kg and heavier.
Dorset Horn is among the oldest purebred sheep in England, although the first Dorset Horn Flock Book of England was not published until 1892. Three years later, the first Dorset Horn sheep were imported to Australia.
The breed was enormously popular and did well in Australia. The Dorset Horns excel in fecundity and early maturity. They produce quick maturing lambs with lean carcasses and are able to remain ‘fresh’ under trying conditions.