Home' Smart Farmer : May 2012 Contents "If you walk away from a Dorper
for a while and leave it out in the
paddock and don't pay it much
attention, it will only get fatter and
heavier whereas, if you neglected a
Merino, there is the risk of flystrike,
or they may need to be shorn," he
For lamb-marking smaller lines of
lambs, you do not need to invest in
cradles or other equipment but can
ust hang them over the fence.
Mr McTaggart said the only equip-
ment needed to start out is a few
portable panels to yard and be able
o catch them in.
The northern pastoralists were
ome of the first to get into the
Dorper breed and in the early days,
ound they were 'hammered' in the
market place due to 'biases' against
That has now turned around.
Dorper lambs now receive similar
prices, if not better, than their
Merino and British breed counter-
"The reputation of the Dorper is
growing and processors are actively
eeking out Dorper carcases,"
"Dorpers have a premium carcase
and solid domestic and international
"We are now receiving a value for
he skin as well. Although this is
educed compared to other breeds,
he increased yield of the Dorper off-
ets the lower skin price.
"Dorpers fit any trade market and
hey can now go through the sale
McTaggart said producers could
approach their local stock agent who
would be able to market their stock,
or they can approach smaller butch-
ers and slaughter houses to sell their
"Talk to slaughter houses and
butchers to ask them questions and
ake interest in the supply chain,"
"Understanding what you produce
and your end-user requirements is
important. Marketing your products
is a business in its own right so you
need to have the time to do that."
Fencing and control is something
Mr McTaggart was "caught out by"
when he first got into the breed and
in hindsight, he says he should have
paid more attention to it.
He said Dorpers needed the same
fence requirements as those for a
British and cross-bred breeds such
as White Suffolks and Poll Dorsets.
"The smaller the blocks, and more
closer they are together, the better
the fencing needs to be but a good
six-wire fence is good enough," he
"Dorpers are like cattle -- they are
a lazy animal and will be happy to
stay put if they have plenty of feed
"It is up to the producer to look
after them, and if they don't, the ani-
mals will try to take off."
Mr McTaggart said electric fencing
would be alright but it needed to be
well maintained, with weeds and
grass underneath regularly sprayed.
Mr McTaggart said the most
important thing for first-time pro-
ducers was to source genuine, quali-
ty stock in the first place -- a
minimum of third-cross Dorpers.
"Buy sheep of reputable breeders,"
"You need to pay good money for
your quality, full-shedding, breeding
stock, which will save you in the
long run. Don't buy rubbish stock as
it will cost you in the end.
"If you are buying first and sec-
ond-crosses, they may grow a fleece
and need to be shorn, or die of fly-
"If they are growing wool, you will
need to invest more time, labour and
equipment into shearing and other
By LOUISE McBRIDE
ORPERS have been a huge
success story for fifth-gener-
ation pastoral sheep and
wool producers Jamie McTaggart
and Scott Herde who run stud and
commercial Dorpers and supply its
meat to local, national and interna-
tional markets under their
renowned signature-brand Spear
Creek Dorper Lamb.
They made the move ten years ago
to the meet breed-backing poor
wool markets and dry seasons.
Saltbush White Dorper stud is run
at Quorn in the Flinders Ranges,
and a commercial flock and trade
lambs are run at Spear Creek and
Pernatty Station, Port Augusta.
"Not only did Dorpers make sense
for our country but they are very
profitable as well and turn off a car-
case as good as any on the market,"
Mr McTaggart said.
Saltbush Livestock and Saltbush
Organic meats have grown into a
diverse, far-reaching and profitable
business and helped change the
image of the Dorper in domestic
Mr McTaggart said Dorpers turn-
off some of the best lamb meat in the
country, and are largely grazed in the
drier pastoral zones, but work well
in the inside country on a smaller
"If you have some grass that needs
grazing and you want to be able to
turn over an income with low main-
tenance and low costs, Dorpers are
the best option," he said.
"They have the same benefits as a
mob of cattle, but much easier to
Dorpers are easy care animals
which means they are suited to
smaller blocks and hobby farms.
"They do not require any chemi-
cals, shearing or crutching, do not
get flystrike and are less likely to be
inhibited by worms," Mr McTaggart
"They are early maturing which
means lambs are on the ground and
turned off the property in a shorter
timeframe which keeps income
McTaggart said they were a good
option for the smaller producer who
may have other work commitments.
Dorper bias fades out
Saltbush Livestock's Scott Herde and Jamie McTaggart showcase their full-
shedding Dorpers at the 2012 Broken Hill agfair.
Dorper meat in high demand
Easy care, low-maintenance
Suit smaller blocks, hobby farms
By ALISTAIR LAWSON
SOME rain may have fallen during
April, but it may still not be enough to
offset the unseasonable week of 30C
degree temperatures experienced dur-
ing the middle of the month.
Some agents are pointing to an over-
supply as an instigator of lower prices
across markets around the Adelaide
Hills and Fleurieu Peninsula.
Prostock Mount Compass director
Kym Endersby said cattle prices in the
area had mostly eased by 10 cents a
kilogram in the past month, with feed-
er cattle easing between 15c/kg and
He said if it was not for some export
orders holding-up prices, the situation
could be worse.
Elders Strathalbyn territory sales
manager Danny Reynolds said there
were three factors influencing cattle
prices at the moment -- the export mar-
ket, the high $A and seasonal condi-
He estimates cattle prices have
dropped by about $100 a head since
Christmas but hopes the downward
spiral would now stop with some rain
"Once a bit of feed comes up, I think
we will see demand for weaner steers
to put out to feed because of the price
they fetch," he said.
"PTIC cows are harder to sell
because nobody has the feed to grow
Mr Reynolds said he would not
expect demand to completely pick up
now until the warmer growing season
Landmark Strathalbyn auctioneer
Bradley Walker said there was a lot of
pressure on the market in late April
with the prolonged dry weather and
shortage of hay and silage.
He said forward contracts on lambs
offered by some processors between
May and July -- with an increased price
of between 40c/kg and 70c/kg -- was
an encouraging sign.
Landmark Anderson and Fawcett co-
principal Colin Fawcett said only time
would tell if this was enough for pro-
"We are all looking for more rain,
and I think prices will pick up when the
rain comes because the supply will
Flaxman Valley cattle producer Trevor
Kassebaum believes cattle prices are
"the best of the bad" at the moment
because of a lack of rain during most
Mr Kassebaum's feed took a heavy
knock with the hot spell. He said he
still needed another 50 millimetres of
rain to get feed
Rain fails to excite ordinary cattle market
Flaxman Valley cattle producer Trevor Kassebaum believes cattle prices are
"best of the bad" at the moment.
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