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On the sheep's back

By TOBY WALKER

WHEN Graeme and Anne Budd moved on to a small rural property at Coutts Crossing two years ago they were looking for a way to keep livestock without having the added burden of labour costs.

Enter South Africa's popular export, Dorpa sheep, which were first introduced to Australia in 1996.

The Budd's figured Dorpa would be ideal -- and potentially profitable -- because it is a breed of sheep that could shed its wool naturally, much like a dog or cat sheds hair.

Without the need to think about shearing costs and issues like mulesing usually associated with other breeds, the Budds assumed they were on to a winner.

And last weekend that assumption proved correct when they took several awards for their Coutts Crossing-bred Dorpa sheep at the National Dorpa Championships in Dubbo.

Up against around 150 entries, the couple's ewes took home the blue ribbons with two first places and a second in different categories, the win vindicating their confidence in the breed.

"There was a lot of people there who had a lot of sheep to choose from so we were thrilled to win considering we hadn't been breeding them that long," Mr Budd said.

According to Mr Budd, the Dorpa breed has become highly sought by larger sheep farmers in the State's west with demand for rams outstripping supply.

A situation that has served to attach a level of prestige to the breed -- with a price to match.

Mr Budd said he recently saw a ram being sold for commercial use at a Grays End sale yard for $3000.



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