Cashmore Nudies were started to breed shedding sheep adapted to southern conditions where they must tolerate cold, wet and muddy conditions with internal parasites pressures.
Historically shedding breeds come from warm dry climates and are run at light stocking rates on low quality pastures. This environmental and genetic background restricts their suitability for intensive southern areas and a composite approach allows new adapted genes to be merged into a more productive sheep.
Cashmore Park have been performance recording sheep for 25 years and and are now joint owners of the largest and best Maternal Composite flock , Cashmore Oaklea in Australia.
We believe easy care, wool shedding sheep have a part to play in the Australian prime lamb industry, but must be performance recorded to increase levels of production and made increasingly profitable to those produces that need this type of animal.
We accessed shedding genes from Wiltshire and the Dorper breeds and built numbers in a commercial operation run in a high rainfall environment on wet river flats at Heathmere, SW Victoria. This allowed culling on constitution, parasites and foot structure with ewes also pregnancy scanned annually and all dry’s sold.
The best ewes were selected from the commercial flock and performance recording began in 2003. Semen from the best Dorper rams selected on ASBVs for parasite resistance and fertility was purchasedand inseminated into selected ewes.
Single sire mating and daily ear tagging of new born lambs to their birth dam allows full pedigree records to be kept. Date of birth, birth weight, sex, birth type, rear type and maternal dam score are detailed for all new lambs. A series of weights are then taken from weaning onwards, including ultra sound fat and muscle depth, scrotal measures, and individual dung samples. Records of shedding ability are kept at various times of the year for all animals for future ASBV calculation.
Adding New DNA
Each year we mate some ewes to the best Maternal Composite rams produced from the Cashmore Oaklea breeding program. See http://www.cashmoreoaklea.com.au/
This provides industry leading cutting edge genes for growth, fertility and parasite resistance. A number of ewes have been included from a grading up program commencing in 2008 with a Maternal composite base. These F1’s are then mated to clean shedding sires to produce F2’s etc.
Stud Numbers and Genetic Gain
Five hundred adult stud ewes and 180 eight month old ewe lambs are single sire mated each year to 12 sires that have come to the top in our performance recording program. Selected on structure, wool shedding, performance and dam temperament, these sires have increased genetic gain and added $2.67 per ewe mated each year for the past 3 years.
How much Wool?
Breeding a high performance shedding flock is a balancing act between cosmetically pleasing, full shedding sheep and increasing performance from faster growth and higher fertility on ewes that carry some wool. It is relatively easy to breed for clean animals, however to do so means that selection pressure is not applied to a number of other key economical production traits. The best southern maternal sheep are Maternal Composite, and numerically they have far greater numbers available, hence selection pressure when looking for new suitable genes to add to the Nudie flock is high. Their inclusion improves many areas, but does add wool which we maintain at a level so as not to require shearing. In effect our stud flock is the testing ground, which we carry the cost of experimenting in. Commercial users of our rams are then able to use the clean shedders that have the added benefit of a small amount of maternal genes to lift performance.