• Why Choose Heathfield Poll Merinos?

Modern, profitable sheep.
Affordable rams.
Experienced service and support.
Value for money.

At Heathfield, Steve has been running the commercial Poll Merino operation for over 30 years so we understand the needs and challenges of the sheep industry.

This is not just a job, it is a family farming business run with a passion for sheep and wool. We value our natural environment and manage our farm with future generations in mind. We believe a healthy farm environment goes hand in hand with healthy sheep.

We have a terrific deep, even, well balanced base of modern Poll Merino ewes refined over a long breeding history, and our wools are fine, white, long-stapled, well defined and robust.

We also keep in touch with what other breeders, studs and industry are doing in a constant search for the best genetics to incorporate into our breeding programme to produce the most profitable sheep we can.

By selecting genetics from tougher environments and grazing under commercial conditions our sheep are bred to be good do-ers and able to thrive in a range of environments and suit a range of clients.

What is your focus?

Perhaps you’re looking to:

  • breed more profitable, balanced sheep
  • improve your wool cut, fertility, frame or do-ability
  • fine up your micron to capture market premiums
  • grow stylish wool on skin that keeps the shearers happy
  • change ram supplier or bloodline
  • pay less for quality Poll Merino rams
  • start your own sheep operation
  • or are you just looking….

Enquire without obligation

Our Sheep

Plain bodied, heavy cutting, fine wool, with fertility and frame

There are many excellent sheep on offer around the country. We believe we are offering rams with a good balance of key traits – at excellent value for money – that culminates as a modern, profitable Poll Merino:

  • high fertility
  • soft, white, stylish long-stapled wool
  • good frame
  • heavy wool cut at fine microns
  • good do-ers that don’t stand at the self feeder waiting
  • good, calm mothers (and ideal prime lamb mothers)

We run all our sheep and rams under commercial conditions but manage them as individuals.  By micron testing, fleece weighing and keeping check of reproductive performance we benchmark within our flock, and we match rams to ewes to achieve the best genetic gain.

Please see the Q & A section below for more information.

View our 2018/19 Ram Sales Listing

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Our Breeding Objectives

We are continually striving to breed the best and our flock is continually evolving. We have been working hard for 30 plus years with that aim – combining a heck of a lot of hard work, measurement and identification, lots of good advice, determination and self-belief.

Our breeding objectives are tied to profitability – maximising lambs on the ground and heavy wool cut at fine micron, without losing any existing positive productive traits such as wool style, frame, temperament, etc. We also “fold in the edges” to keep an even line of sheep.

There is no point saying how many kilograms we would LIKE to cut, or how many lambs we would LIKE to have on the ground as that is an ideal. Of course we are always looking to do better, but we will tell you what we are currently achieving, and if that suits you, we invite you to have a look at our rams.

As an indication our very best ewes are cutting over 7kg at 16 micron, or finer after having reared twins, and the best lamb marking percentage we have had in the last 10 years has been close to 115% to ewes joined with 1/3 being maidens. These figures are probably common place in strong and medium wool flocks however not so common in fine and super fine flocks.

Can we ask you

Note: Click on a question below to read our answer.

How balanced is your flock?

Historically, our long term focus has been on breeding and selection to produce truly balanced, profitable sheep with key traits of heavy cutting stylish white wools, fine micron, frame, high lambing and weaning percentages, do-ability, calmness, and saleability. Our sheep have been built to thrive.

Do you have horned sheep?

Poll sheep are steadily becoming more popular than horned sheep. We have been breeding Poll Merinos for over 30 years as we believe they are as or more productive than horned sheep, easier to look after (including wethers) and more pleasant to handle – fewer horns to injure people or get stuck in fences, minimal fly strike on the head, and fewer issues if rams fight.

How much are your sheep cutting?

In our environment at Boorowa, our mature ewes cut an average of 6.1kg over a rolling 5 years. We take advantage of good wool cut at a finer micron to capture the market premiums – generally our sheep test at 15 to 17.5 micron. Our wools usually yield 70-71 percent.

Would you like to fine up your flock to reap the market premium? Would you like to cut at least as much wool as you do now at a finer micron?

Historically finer microns have always realised a premium over stronger wools and it makes more sense to be cutting the same or more at a lower micron to reap the benefit.  Our sheep are cutting 6.1kg at 17 micron average.

Do you need prime lamb mothers with good temperaments?

Our ewes are calm, nurturing, protective mothers – not run-away Merinos.

Do you want to find and keep good shearers?

Hard, wrinkly skins are tough going for shearers.  Our sheep are productive and plain bodied with loose skin that combs well and is easy to shear.

Are you over the marketing and hype associated with the selling of rams these days?

Our motto is:  “No smoke, no mirrors, what you see is what you will get.”

Are you happy with your reproductive rate?

We are achieving 106% lambs on the ground to ewes joined with 1/3 of the ewes being maidens over a 5 year average. Our weaning rates are high, so we can afford to cull heavily but maintain the whole flock at a young age. This allows us to shorten the genetic interval and gain a premium for surplus ewes sold at a younger age. It also allows us to turn over improved genetics quickly.

Do your ewes carry the frame, fat and muscle at low micron to achieve very high lambing percentages?

One of our long term livestock agents refers to our sheep as “deceptively good” and when processed they “always hang up better than they look”. The proof in the pudding is the long term lambing percentages we are achieving.

How long do you join for?

At Heathfield Polls we join for 5 weeks, and between 70 to 74 percent of ewes conceive in their first cycle, which leads to an even line of lambs.

To what age do you need to keep your ewes to allow for self-replacement?

The oldest ewes we join on Heathfield are 4½ years old excluding really exceptional ewes that are kept to ensure our continued genetic improvement. We don’t run a crossbred operation because we think there is more profitability in our Merinos, although the surplus ewes we sell are equally profitable as Merino or prime lamb mothers.

Would you like help with running your operation – developing a breeding aim, classing ewes, selecting rams, or management?

Steve is only too happy to provide help if it is needed.  He has over 30 years hands-on experience, and coupled with a large network of passionate industry professionals to draw from, solutions can be found.

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