Dorper sheep are set to market a new breed specific lamb to consumers.
Similar to how the Angus cattle breed successfully sold itself to Australian red meat consumers, the Dorper Sheep Society of Australia (DSSA) has trademarked ‘Prime Dorper Lamb’ and undertaken an initiative to encourage Dorper sheep breeders to get involved.
DSSA board member Donna Emmerton said the new brand initiative is now starting to register Dorper producers who would like to take part in the program, without actually having a market to sell the lamb.
“Getting a supply chain in order will be vital to encourage the larger stakeholders to become involved,” Ms Emmerton said.
“The ‘Prime Dorper Lamb’ brand is slowly, but surely, moving ahead and we have recently commissioned a company to produce a professional business and marketing plan.
“We are hoping to attract grants and other available funds to enable us to progress the supply chain and brand awareness at a faster pace.
“The new initiative has also produced more marketing material with a Facebook page up and running and we’ve heard nothing but positive comments on the branded meat from consumers so far.”
Ms Emmerton said a major focus for the new ‘Prime Dorper Lamb’ will be its ethically production and high eating quality.
“We really do want to push the ethically production side of the brand as it’s extremely relevant to our breed – no shearing, crutching, mulesing or even docking is necessary,” she said.
“It all helps to lower the stress on the animal which combined with Meat Standards Australia (MSA) means ‘Prime Dorper Lamb’ is produced ethically and eats well every time.”
As mentioned, the ‘Prime Dorper Lamb’ brand will be underpinned by MSA with the Dorper breed society considering it the next step for producers to increase awareness of their sheep meat quality and ensure a consistent supply to processors.
“Our producers are keen and motivated but it’s difficult because they are Australia-wide, so by using MSA as a backbone it means all producers are on the same page producing the same product consistently,” Ms Emmerton said.
“Our goal is to ensure ‘Prime Dorper Lamb’ is ethically sourced from MSA accredited producers who have a high regard for animal welfare and produce quality lamb with superior yield of carcass and eating quality.”
Important specifications for producers achieving the market specifications for ‘Prime Dorper Lamb’ are; rams used for breeding must be purchased from a registered DSSA stud, lambs must be 87 per cent Dorper (third cross or better), MSA accredited and have lambs processed by a DSSA licensed ‘Prime Dorper Lamb’ facility with a carcase between 18 to 26 kilograms, plus a minimum fat score 2 and a maximum fat score of 3.
“Dorper sheep in Australia have continued to grow as a breed and the DSSA believe we now have the numbers to deliver this new breed specific branding initiative with a consistent supply chain of prime Dorper lambs,” Ms Emmerton said.
A processor, producer, or co-brander who markets their accredited ‘Prime Dorper Lamb’ brand to red meat consumers will have to pay a set fee to the DSSA at an amount directly related to the numbers of suitable Dorper lambs processed.