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Tailor made Breeding

The Funke family’s White Suffolk and Poll Dorset ram breeding operation at Western Flat in South Australia’s south-east has been expanded to provide an individualized contract ram breeding service for clients.

Already selling over 550 rams a year at its annual on-property and paddock sales, this latest initiative provides genetics specially tailored to suit particular environments, existing genetics, management practices and target markets.

With semen from close to 30 elite sires available, all with Lambplan figures in the top levels for terminal sires, and with a large flock of stud ewes, Bundara Downs can provide rams of one breed or a blend of breeds that best suit a client’s requirements according to Bundara Downs co-principal Steve Funke.

“We recognised a need for this service which is now quite common and working well in the beef cattle industry,” he said.

“Since we founded our White Suffolk stud in 1993 and our Poll Dorset stud in 2002, we have concentrated on growing the genetic strength of our flocks to the point where our genetic trends are outpacing those of the terminal industry.

“At our 2012 sale, 100% of the 283 rams offered had Lambplan and/or Index Values in the top 50% of terminals while 57% of all lots had figures in the top 10% of terminals.

“With the genetics of our sheep recorded for generations, we can accurately select genetics to do specific jobs in flocks whether they be Merino or cross bred based.

“Different ewe flocks can benefit from different genetics. Environments, management practices and target markets all need to be considered when attempting to maximise the benefits of going into the prime lamb production.

“Efficiency and profit are driving our selection criteria and sound conformation is critical to complement growth, muscling, and fertility traits identified by Lambplan.

Mr Funke said Bundara Downs takes its role as a seedstock producers seriously and take significant health and genetic precautions to protect clients’ flocks.

“In recent years we have made a strong investment in DNA testing to ensure our flock is free of known negative genetic conditions,” he said.