Farmer-friendly sheep don't need shearing

  • 16/03/2014

It is the end of an era for AgResearch, who have put their 300 scientifically-bred sheep under the hammer.

For the past 13 years scientists have been experimentally breeding two different types of sheep with some very unique features.

A small but enthusiastic crowd flocked to the Tinwald sale yards. On sale were no stock-standard ewes. For the past 13 years AgResearch has been breeding a line that would appeal to farmers and lifestylers for their low maintenance.

The first is a breed that sheds its own wool and requires no shearing and the second a composite breed that does not need its tail docked and has far less wool in areas that would normally create dags.

With his research now finished, Dr David Scobie is putting his mob up for sale, and they drew a mixture of curious onlookers and serious buyers.

"It's the way to go probably because sheep are a lot of work," says farmer Roger Henderson. "If we just want a few and don't want to do much, they'll be ideal for that."

Southbridge farmer Stuart Brannigan was one of the successful bidders taking home five low-maintenance ewes.

"I breed Southdown sheep myself and I thought Southdown across these could go quite good – bit of a trial really," he says.

With all but two of his 300 sheep selling at the auction, for an average price of $170, Dr Scobie says it was a great result.

"We've been quite surprised in the enthusiasm for them," says Dr Scobie. "[They're] certainly not buying them to slaughter them at that price; they'll be taking them home to breed for them."

Dr Scobie's research may be over, but his sheep will live on, making their new owners' lives just a little bit easier.

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source: newshub archive