Composite recipe for success

Australian White bloodlines offer "superior meat"

Sheepmeat
Greg Patch, Beauvale Australian Whites, Nanango, runs almost 200 sheep in a commercial and stud operation. Pictures: Hayley Kennedy

Greg Patch, Beauvale Australian Whites, Nanango, runs almost 200 sheep in a commercial and stud operation. Pictures: Hayley Kennedy

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Australian White genetics have been the key ingredient for one Nanango paddock to plate business.

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The success of any good recipe always comes down to key ingredients, and for one Nanango paddock to plate business, this is achieved through the use of Australian White genetics.

Spread across 161 hectares of ex-dairy country in the South Burnett, Greg and Joy Patch run a flock of almost 200 sheep in a commercial and stud operation.

After a lifetime of dairying, Mr Patch said deregulation had forced them out of the industry and they had sought a new income stream.

"We started off by getting 13 stud ewes off Rob Gilmore at Ardess that were scanned in lamb, to produce stud rams," he said.

"After that, we bought a line of third- and fourth-cross Dorper/Australian White ewes for our meat sheep."

What began as selling meat to neighbours, steadily grew into a paddock to plate business that kills nearly every fortnight.

"It's better than going through the saleyards because you go direct to the public, no commission, and we're getting $16 per kilo," Mr Patch said.

"Getting $320 to $400 for a lamb means you don't have to keep as many, but as the meat business grows, our numbers will grow."

Greg Patch joins his meat sheep year round for a constant turnoff of fat lambs through a paddock to plate business in the South Burnett.

Greg Patch joins his meat sheep year round for a constant turnoff of fat lambs through a paddock to plate business in the South Burnett.

Only a "fairly new breed", the Australian White is a composite breed made up of certain proportions of White Dorper, Van Rooy, Poll Dorset and Texel blood.

Marketed as a modern meat sheep, the breed has been said to produce hardy, large framed, heavy weight lambs that reach slaughter weights early - something Mr Patch can attest to.

"The Australian Whites grow like a house on fire, especially over the Dorper crossbred," he said.

"The best lamb we've had was 27kg at 4 months old, but generally speaking it's around 5.5 to 6 months old that they hit that weight."

Mr Patch said the breed also boasts "a superior meat".

"Because I'm selling my lambs at 4.5 to 5 months old, they're probably still a bit veal-like so they haven't got the maturer taste like the Merino," he said.

"It's a trade for meat quality over flavour sometimes, but it has enough flavour, and it's very tender; we reckon it's less fatty tasting."

Perhaps the best mark of the eating quality though, is that "kids love it".

Dairy pastures prove valuable

Despite the shift away from milking cows, the old dairy pastures have proven successful in generating fat lambs for the paddock to plate business.

Greg Patch said the lambs are always pasture fed, and even during the recent dry, he wouldn't compromise eating quality by feeding them grain.

"We have lucerne and Rhodes grass through the summer, and couch and weeds, and it all helps to make the meat tender," he said.

"In the winter we do multi-species, which is the 10 seed mix in one paddock.

"We plant tillage radish, plantain, and chicory. The plantain and chicory bring up a lot of minerals from down low, and the radish opens the soil up and aerates it.

"Then we plant rye grass, oats, fetch, brassica and clover, and the sheep love it.

"It adds that bit of extra quality in the meat, having that multi-species not just the one species of crop, plus it does the soil a lot of good."

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