charollais sheep australia

moving the industry into the 21st century

News

 Trials results are in … 

A party atmosphere at the Camlea Sale 

ANDREW HINES cleans up at the Tenterfield Show 2019

G’day just a bit of feedback on your rams I entered 3 pens of three and a single lamb in the Tenterfield show today they were judged:


Champion pen of lambs 
Champion lamb of show 
Champion pen sired by other than poll Dorset 
2nd place lambs 44to 48kg

Lambs were auctioned top price $202 lowest price $192 

Awesome rams!!!!

Trial Results are in … 

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More meat less fat with Charollais lambs

Kevin Feakins, Camlea Station, Glencoe, imported his interest in continental meat sheep from England a decade ago. At the time there was little awareness in Australia but now export demand calls for a sensational sucker.

Large, lean, terminal Charollais rams have caught the eye of Dubbo sheep meat magnate Roger Fletcher, whose burgeoning export business demands a bigger carcass.


Glencoe breeders Kevin and Gina Feakins, Camlea Station, brought their interest in Continental Charollais sheep with them when they emigrated from Hereford, England, following a disastrous experience with foot and mouth disease. Over there it was the push by major UK supermarkets for lean meat that drove change in many farming systems. “With a British prime lamb over 45 kilograms there is excessive blubbery fat,” says Mr Feakins.


“All the Downy breeds –  from Dorset Downs, Oxford Downs, Hampshire Downs –  have a tendency to lay down fat and it was coming to the stage where processors were slicing loads of fat off lambs with its only use as blood and bone meal.

“Sheep from across the Channel, like their beef, do not lay down fat and with a lamb carcass you can gain eight to 10kg extra meat. It’s not right that in the modern era we shouldn't join a breed fit for purpose.”


Once ensconced in Australia the Feakins searched for a long time to find Charollais replacements. Live imports of sheep and cattle are banned.


They eventually came across Victorian vet Ian MacDougall, Hamilton, who had imported embryos. He came to the New England and performed his work in the Feakins’ shearing shed, placing them in Border Leicester/ Merino first cross ewes with a 60 percent survival rate.


Each lamb dropped cost $1000 in those early times and the build up was a very slow process. These days the Feakins run 300-350 pure Charollais ewes. They also run 1400 commercial ewes and find that these second cross Charollais ewes put back to the Charollais rams retain vigour, while delivering the right progeny.


Fertility is excellent and lambing easy, says Mr Feakins, with ewes scanning at 180 percent and producing 160 percent with a high number of triplets. As the breed has a clean breech there is no call for mule sing although Mr Feakins crutches his ewes prior to lambing, which is straight-forward, with small lively progeny that quickly put on weight.


Wool clip is much reduced, of course, but in the current climate returns $15-$18 per fleece. Skin value at the moment averages just under $9. “When we were back in England the fleece was a liability. Prices crashed so badly that at one point farmers were using their wool as litter to put under their cattle.”

Charollais cross ewes display hindquarter volume that meets the market.

Industry interest in meaty direction

Lean, meaty prime lamb is a product whose time has come, according to the biggest name in sheep meat – Roger Fletcher.


The man who started with little and now steers the Australian market with lambs divided into 60 packs and shipped to 90 countries all over the world says bigger is better and his interest in the Charollais breed is not  being taken lightly.


With Camlea Charollais lambs dressing out at above 50 per cent it is no wonder Fletcher International bought 10 rams at its recent sale and commissioned a further 60 suckers to take part in a feedlot trial.

Fletcher’s recent purchase of Camlea progeny entered into the Glen Innes Show prime lamb competition with an average live weight of 49.75 kilograms dressed at an average of 55 per cent.


Jamie Brown - The Land

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Charolais infusion gathers momentum at record Camlea ram sale

Camlea stud principal Kevin Feakins pictured left, Glencoe, with the top selling ram of the sale bought by Daniel Hooper pictured right, "Vortex" Banalla, Victoria, with auctioneer Shad Bailey, centre, with Colin Say and Company Glen Innes.

Growing interest in Charolais rams for meatier prime lamb production was evident at the annual Camlea stud ram sale at Glencoe on Friday with a top price of $3200.


The 50 yearling rams on offer sold to a full clearance, averaging $1117. 


Robert and Daniel Hooper, “Vortex”, Banalla, Victoria purchased the top priced ram, lot 9 at 100 kilograms, for $3200 and will put him to stud. Charolais rams produce small lambs at birth and lively ones too,” said Robert. “They have good structure and grow quickly.”


Fletcher International Exports purchased 10 rams for its Condoblin enterprise, topping at $1650 for lot 32, 98kg. The company later loaded 60 Charolais lambs from Camlea to take to Condoblin for a feedlot trial. At the recent Glen Innes show company founder Roger Fletcher praised Camlea Charolais and its crosses in his role as prime lamb judge.

Robert and Daniel Hooper, “Vortex”, Banalla, Victoria purchased the top priced ram for $3200 and will put him to stud. Charolais rams produce small lambs at birth and lively ones too,” said Robert. “They have good structure and grow quickly.”

Family affair Penelope, Chelsea, Charlie and Ben Turner, Kings Plain, bought lot 47, 84kg, for $750 and will put him to first cross ewes for easy lambing on their smaller Merinos.

Jon Cumming and Bruce Reeves, “Chippendale”, Guyra, bought nine Charolais rams including lot 40 for $1500 and will put them over White Suffolk/ Merino first cross maiden ewes.

Sarah Hunt and Travis Crouch, “Neverleven”, Mudgee travelled to the Camlea sale at Glencoe to build their flock of Charolais which is already proving fertile. “The breed has meat in the right cuts,” said Mr Crouch. Unfortunately they were outbid by more serious players on the day. 

Repeat buyer Jan Simmons, Bundarra, purchased lot 45, 82kg, for $800 and will put him over Samm ewes to create an even meatier prime lamb. 

Duncan Davidson, “Yoi”, Delungra, bought two rams to service White Suffolk/ Merino first cross ewes, including lot 18 for $1700. A previous infusion of Charolais has already worked to reduce the size of his Merino ewes and to add vigour. “This breed ticks a lot of boxes,”’he said. “They are a tight unit.”

Austin Finlayison from Fletcher International Exports purchased 10 rams for its Condoblin enterprise, topping at $1650 for lot 32, 98kg. The company later loaded 60 Charolais lambs from Camlea to take to Condoblin for a feedlot trial. At the recent Glen Innes show company founder Roger Fletcher praised Camlea Charolais and its crosses in his role as prime lamb judge.

Repeat buyers Jeff and Chris Pumper, Howlong, bought five rams, including lot 49, 94kg, for $1050 and will use them to replace Black Suffolk. “We switched for ease of lambing,” said Jeff. “And for their structure and their dress-out percentage.”

Repeat buyers Warren and Graham Lockyer, Ben Lomand, bought five rams, including lot 25, 94kg for $1400 and will put them to Border Leicester/ Merino first cross maiden ewes for ease of lambing. But they will keep the daughters and build their Charolais content with prime lamb going direct to Woolworths through Thomas Foods International at Tamworth. “Our lambs dress out at 24kg, at the top of the grid,” Graham said.

Repeat Buyer Andrew Hines, Sandy Flat via Tenterfield, bought lot 37, 92kg, for $1100 to put to Dorset/ Merino. “They produce a beautiful lamb,” he said. “At Tenterfield show I got best pen of lambs by other than Poll Dorset and sold them for $180 a head.”

Howard and Kerry Carter, Barraba, bought rams for repeat buyer Fermanagh Allan, “Coreen”, Barraba, to put over first cross ewes. “Charolais have good growth rates and are good converters. You can value add to your country with this breed,” Howard said.

Jamie Brown - The Land