Corriedales - The Breed of the Future
Those that have persisted with the traditional Corriedale breed are reaping the rewards. High lamb and mutton returns combined with heavy wool cuts continue to ensure that stronger wools more than hold their own in comparison with the finer end of the market. Delegations from New Zealand and Australia have recently visited China. The visit resulted in the Chinese showing interest to increase their purchase in the medium to stronger wools by up to 20% a year. Fox & Lillie have in the last week been in contact with Corriedale breeders trying to acquire 27 to 32 micron wools for the Chinese market.
The national Corriedale depletion in numbers is predominately attributed to competition with Merinos through the 80ís and 90ís. The decision to put Merinoís over Corriedales has not resulted in the advantages that the pure Corriedale has to offer. A key Farming consultant wrote in a leading farming newspaper (approximately six months ago) that the true dual-purpose sheep were out-producing other types of sheep production. The breeders who stay with the traditional Corriedale are returning more per hectare than other sheep breeds. With lambing percentages of 100 and better, 50% of ewes can be joined back to the Corriedale, and the other 50% joined to a terminal sire, benefiting from the hybrid vigor for quicker returns, as well as having the benefits of a self replacing flock, which lowers the risk of introducing diseases. There is also the benefit when you able to cull 50% of young ewes, to join to a terminal sire, that the main nucleus of the flock is improving in quality. The wether portion of the Corriedales donít mature as quickly, but grow out to be bigger sheep and have returned between $92 to $109 over the hooks, when all heavy lambs were at their lowest prices.†††††††††††††††††††††
The advantages of breeding Corriedales are that you have a pure breed sheep, with reduced variation in the size and shape of the lambs, which is a problem compared to the pig or chicken industries. Less variation in the wool type, and a lower C.V. than crossbreed wools, makes it more manufacturable. Also highlighted in a leading farming news-paper, the tighter wool on a skin is preferred over a crossbreed skin, the Corriedale lambs skins are preferred as a hospital under blankets, and if they start paying a premium for the skin it will make the Corriedale even more profitable.† This highly productive breed also benefits in that it is self-replacing, cutting out the risks of introducing diseases, and not having to source out the very expensive replacement ewes.†