Apparel Wool, Meat for a Feast

Chance purchase pays off

16 Nov, 2014 – Farm Weekly

THE chance purchase of a flock of 1400 F4 mated Dohne ewes from breeder Keith Henderson eight years ago gave Nyabing/Wagin farmer Graham Ball and his family a base for the profitable, easy care, prime lamb flock they were seeking at the time to replace their Merinos.

Under the direction of Graham’s daughter Michelle Carew-Reid at Nyabing, they have since used Dohne rams from Peter Dewar’s Strath-Park stud to develop their pure Dohne enterprise, with White Suffolk rams from the Ditchburn’s Golden Hill stud at Kukerin to upgrade prime lamb progeny from their crossbreds.

The Ball family was WAMMCO’s Producer of the Month for October 2014 with a line of 214 Dohne crossbred lambs that averaged 23.19kg at $4.39 cents/per kg including skin to return $101.90 per head.

“We were lucky starting out with a flock of F4 mated Dohnes for little more than we were paid for the Merinos we were replacing,” Graham Ball said.

“We were able to move straight into a breed that could give us both meat and wool, a high lambing success rate, better foraging and freedom from blowflies and crutching,” Ms Carew-Reid added.

“Newborn Dohne lambs can surprise you because there are many twins and triplets and they are initially so small, but once away, their growth and survival is impressive and even our maiden ewes are averaging 110 per cent or more at lambing.

“They will also forage on granite country and other country neglected by other breeds.”

The family’s sheep enterprise is based at “Warnaminup”, Nyabing, with a total Dohne flock that has now grown to 3000 ewes.

The Dohne mothers are cutting about 5.5kg of 21 micron wool and along with weaner-shorn lambs are also enjoying the current premiums for shorter wool.

Ms Carew-Reid said selected Dohne ewes were mated at the end of October to White Suffolk rams to lamb in early April, while the Dohne rams were mated so ewes lamb in mid May.

She and Graham welcomed the record WAMMCO rebate in October and were optimistic about the future of the lamb industry.



Producer of the month for October, Michelle Carew-Reid, Nyabing and her father Graham Ball, Wagin. They are pictured with some of the 600 Dohne ewe lambs just assessed and kept in the Dohne breeding flock.

Practical Guide
Dohne Database