A century of sheep sales

A century of sheep sales

JANUARY 2018 | Lorraine Clarke

NOT MANY Tasmanian farming families are still running a sustainable family business spanning 4 generations, but the Archers have achieved this.

Quamby Plains at Hagley was established in 1894. Today, it is run by Richard Archer with his son Charles and daughter Victoria. One of Victoria’s roles involves running the Corriedale Stud.

The Quamby Plains Corriedale stud was established by Compton Archer in 1917 (Victoria’s Great Grandfather). This was a fairly young breed at that time, having been created simultaneously in Australia and New Zealand from 1868.

Fine wool Saxon Merino sheep were crossed with the long wool Lincoln sheep to produce a hardy, fertile medium- bodied dual purpose animal with excellent growth rate for meat, as well as a heavy cut of excellent quality wool.

Today, the descendants of those first Quamby Plains sheep are keenly sought for their superior genetics locally and by buyers from mainland states, New Zealand and the USA.

On 20th November 2017, Quamby Plains hosted its 100th annual Corriedale Stud Ram Sale. This was a very exciting milestone event to reach 100 years with a stud operation. Richard Archer was rather laid-back about it though. “Not really,” he said. “We do it every year.” Are these fine animals pampered for their big day? “No, we just run ‘em in.” Their quality obviously shines through without artifice.

The farm runs 3,000 commercial ewes and 450 stud ewes. About 40 stud rams are selected for the annual sale from the flock which is recorded under LAMBPLAN protocols.

The rams are run under commercial conditions in a large group and are grass fed. Growth figures of the rams, wool micron and wool weights are itemised in the catalogue, allowing buyers to select the sire most suitable for their requirements.

This year’s ram’s micron range was 21.5 to 28.5, with most rams achieving gold or silver Performance Corriedale medal status. This was evident in the prices achieved, as the sale average was pushed to a record top of $3,600 and averaged $1,732. This year, three-quarters of the rams went to Tasmanian buyers.

Warren Johnston was the auctioneer, and Jock Gibson the spotter at the sale run by Roberts Ltd.

The Archer family also established a Poll Hereford stud in 1973, with emphasis on commercial qualities to suit today’s market. 200 stud cows and heifers are run alongside 150 commercial cows.

Artificial insemination is utilised to introduce the best genetics into the herd. Stringent selection criteria ensures that the quality of the stock continues to improve.

The rolling plains produce not only superior stud stock, but a range of agricultural crops as well, including poppies. The future of Quamby Plains as a primary producer of quality livestock and crops seems assured, as they combine the latest management techniques with generations of practical experience and the rich Hagley soil.

 Mike Moores

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