By any measure, the Waratah White Suffolk flock ranks at the top of terminal seed stock flocks in Australia.
This year, Steve and Debbie Milne have achieved their goal of offering 90 rams and 30 stud ewes in their annual sale all averaging in the top 5 per cent of terminal 2018-drop sheep in Australia.
"This is a significant achievement and places this flock at the forefront of progressive prime lamb seed stock producers in Australia," Steve said.
The Milnes have always been early adopters of innovation and joined Lambplan at the foundation of their stud in 1995.
Steve is a past committee member and president of the Australian White Suffolk Association and Debbie is a current committee member. Steve is currently the chair of the "Superwhites" group, a young sire evaluation group of 19 flocks around Australia dedicated to maximising genetic gain and identifying top young sires.
Since the founding of their stud Steve and Debbie have had a breeding objective that promotes balanced genetic gain across the most profitable carcass production traits. Over recent year's parasite resistance and eating quality traits have been added, reflecting the lamb industries need to reduce the use of chemicals and reverse the downward trend in lamb eating quality.
"Progressive seed stock producers have followed the beef, poultry and dairy industries in using breeding values derived from objective measurement," Steve said.
"We use the Australian Sheep Breeding Values, LEQ (Lamb Eating Quality) index as our primary selection tool. We also set rigorous standards for structural soundness, wool and skin value and breed type.
"This focus on making genetic gain as well as producing functional sheep means more profit for our commercial producers."
The Waratah sale rams average 145.7 for the LEQ index, which is in the top 5 per cent of 2018 drop terminal sheep in Australia (126,462 animals in the Lambplan database). The LEQ index combines growth and carcass traits with eating quality and worm resistance.
This is the major selection index for Waratah as the Milnes believe it combines all the essential traits for lamb production in the Green Triangle region.
The annual Waratah sale will be held on-property at Branxholme on October 14. Inspections from 11am, with the sale commencing at 1pm. The sale will be interfaced with Auctions Plus.
Full sale details at www.waratahwhites.com.au.