Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Heathcote stud ram a winner

Ted, a Polwarth ram, has won a number of awards for his Heathcote owners.

BARBARA SUNGAILA August 13, 2014 3:30am

Champion Polwarth rams Skeet and Ted.

Heathcote stud farmer Geoff Kemp has been successful at several competitions this year with his Polwarth rams.

Two-year-old Ted was Supreme Champion in the 1 to 2 year class at the Australian Sheep and Wool Show in Bendigo last month.

He also won at the Campbell Town Sheep and Wool Show in Tasmania in May and at the recent Ballarat Sheep Show.

Skeet, also two, was a Supreme Champion at Bendigo in 2013 and was second to Ted in all of this year’s competitions, finishing him the 2014 Reserve Champion at Bendigo.

The Kemp family has lived and farmed in Heathcote for generations, with Mr Kemp’s father establishing the Homeleigh stud in 1948 and showing Polwarths from 1959.

The breed was first established in the western district in the 1880s.

Polwarth numbers have decreased in recent years and Mr Kemp said there were only 23 breeders in Australia.

‘‘But 40 years ago about 40 per cent of the sheep in Tasmania were Polwarths,’’ he said

‘‘I think there’s a place for them, they’re a dual purpose sheep (bred for meat and wool).

‘‘They’re docile and they haven’t got the maintenance of a merino ... maintenance-free is what I keep saying.”

Mr Kemp has been completing a comprehensive artificial insemination program to help reinvigorate the breed’s bloodlines.

Ted was bred from a ram produced by Mr Kemps’s father many years earlier.

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