South Suffolks offer an easy lambing, fast growing alternative to traditional terminal sires, according to Barry Shalders, Willow Drive South Suffolk stud, Grassmere.
Mr Shalders started using South Suffolk rams when he ran a commercial flock of first-cross ewes on his previous property at Derrinallum.
"We used South Suffolk and Poll Dorset rams in our commercial flock, selling the lambs at the Ballarat markets and we always got more for the South Suffolk-cross lambs," he said.
He was so impressed with their performance, he and his daughter Suzanne established their own South Suffolk stud in 1992 with 10 ewe lambs purchased from the Nindethana stud, near Hamilton.
In the early days, bloodlines were also bought from other leading South Suffolk studs including Circle 1, Cameroo, Millswyn and Edyndele.
More recently Willow Drive has been run using home-bred sires.
"We gradually built up our numbers, at one stage we were running 300 stud ewes," he said.
Mr Shalders has now down-sized his farming interests and runs 80 stud ewes on a 40-hectare property near Warrnambool.
He sells about 40-50 rams each year to a strong base of repeat buyers throughout Victoria and NSW.
"The South Suffolks sell themselves, they are very hardy, fertile sheep with fast growth rates and quality carcase attributes," he said.
"We entered South Suffolk-cross lambs in a carcase competition at the Geelong Royal Show and won the 19-22 kilograms dressed weight category and the lambs were only 13-weeks-old.
"We have focused on breeding structurally correct sheep, with a nice shape, plenty of meat and a good length of body."
The Shalders family have been coming to the Australian Sheep & Wool Show for nearly 20 years and have had plenty of success in the show ring.
This year, they are taking a team of six to Bendigo.