Our Australian Dormer breed Story...
Our introduction to the Dormer breed is relatively recent. It started when a keen young Poll Dorset ram ‘jumped the fence’ to be with a few SAMM ewes. Initially we were not impressed and as a result we ended up with a number of progeny of that cross.
The Dubbo Hoof & Hook competition was coming up and the choice was to send the lambs to the sale yards or we could enter them into the comp and see how they went.
In 2014 at the Dubbo Hoof and Hook competition, our ‘accident’ won On the Hoof and Reserve on the Hook. Talk about surprised!
After further research we discovered that the above combination was a stabilised breed in South Africa with a history dating back to 1927. Our success at the competition led us to pursue this blend.
The main reason to take this road was many of the ‘English’ bred sheep don’t have the capacity to survive and flourish in all areas of Australia, being essentially a ‘dry’ continent. We found our SAMMs had no trouble maintaining their condition even during dry and very dry times.
Combining this trait and the small lamb at birth along with the meat production of the Poll Dorset we felt would be a positive combination.
We looked at the idea of bringing in stock, embryos or semen direct from South Africa, however quarantine had closed the doors to anything coming in from South Africa. As we had the two breeds that originated the Dormer, we started the process ourselves, knowing that to get a pure-bred animal was going to take several years.
The Dormer name is simply made up of Dor (Dorset) and Mer (German Merino – which we now know as Prime SAMM (South African Meat Merino)).
We don’t believe anything happens by accident. An article on Landline in November 2018 set the ball rolling. The article was on the Dorper but more importantly Drs Jean & Moozie van Niekerk were interviewed. South African vets who had moved to Australia. We contacted them to congratulate them on Landline but to also ask the question “Why weren’t Dormers ever imported to Australia?”
After a few conversations and a visit to the van Niekerk’s farm, it was revealed that they had actually bought a number of Dormer embryos with them when they emigrated to Australia. The rest as they say, is history. In January 2019 we began preparing our recipient ewes and, on the 2 April 2019, Jean and his assistant Melanie implanted our Dormer embryos.
The offspring have shown to have the best qualities of both parents. Maternal and Terminal. A clear standout in the Export Class as well as against Trade and Heavy Export.