‘We see our job as providing structurally sound animals with objective performance information so you can select the animals that best suit your purpose and operation.’
Owned and managed by second generation farmers, Kate and Chris Dorahy, ‘Cloven Hills’ has specialised in maternal genetics since 1977. The property’s founder, John Porter, was one of the first Coopworth breeders to source New Zealand rams in 1978. Over the past 15 years ‘Cloven Hills’ has been building and changing to a composite maternal flock comprised of the ultimate characteristics for greater lamb production.
Today we run 3000 self-replacing ewes made up of Coopworth (approx. 50%), some East Friesian (approx. 10%), and approximately 40% of terminal infusions which are primarily White Suffolk (20%) alongside Poll Dorset (15%) and Texel (5%) for growth and carcase traits. We are always investing in genetics programs to introduce the top Australian and New Zealand lamb genetics into our stud and commercial flocks, ensuring our sheep have a balance of optimal maternal and terminal traits.
By having only one self-replacing flock, its’ simplicity enables us to streamline our management practices, giving us more time to focus on productivity gains, through measuring, selecting and culling. For example, having one flock, makes it easier to run mobs by condition score and then by preg status. This enables us to manage how much different sheep get fed, save on supplementary feeding, improve stocking rate, conception, lamb survival (through higher birth weights), lamb survival and therefore percentages, by insuring ewes are on the right plane of nutrition.
Easy care traits, such as feet and structural soundness are a given, and we always offer replacements for the small percentage of animals where something goes wrong. However the critical profit drivers, namely fertility, growth and carcase traits, which you can’t see, need to be objectively measure and recorded. Moreover to take out the environmental influence, relative performance needs to be compared nationally through genetic linkages to other Australian studs in LAMBPLAN. By having brothers and sisters in different studs, paddocks and seasons the genetic value of traits in animals can be measured and valued.
Through measuring and having a large gene pool (population) to identify star performers and a 70% culling rate we have achieved a genetic gain of 2.4% p.a. that is 30% higher than the Coopworth $Index over the past 5 years.