Sandown stud is situated at Pindarita, 2964 Yerramullah Road, Hill River, West Badgingarra WA.
This 1600 hectare property is in a 600 ml winter rainfall belt on the West Midland’s sandplain soils.
As part of its infrastructure, Pindarita has a laboratory for the collection of semen or embryos.
A thousand SAMM ewes are mated each year, maintaining at least nine family lines to maximize genetic gains. Intensive recording of all animals is undertaken to eliminate any inbreeding. The sheep are run on paddock conditions with minimal hand feeding (mainly hay). Because of the size of the property and stock numbers, we are able to test any new sires we consider worth breeding.
All progeny are visually culled for structural and wool faults with the remaining progeny extensively measured for fertility, growth, eye muscle depth, fat and wool for micron and comfort factor. We consider these selection criterion to be the most worthwhile for a maternal breed.
The results are entered into the Lambplan genetic evaluation programme run in Australia.
Sandown SAMMs History
Sandown SAMMs stud was set up by partners Graham Sutherland and Tony Abbey with the sole objective of establishing the SAMM breed in Western Australia. The breed is renowned for producing highly productive maternal ewes which in turn would produce top quality lambs.
The original purchase of SAMM embryos were made from the Morriston and Rickston studs which are among the top in South Africa.
Since then outstanding ewes from several other leading South African studs have been purchased. These ewes are from prominent South African studs including Baden Horste, AVM, Greylings, Revack, Stelena, Clinton Collett and breeder Buks De Wet.
Top sires have also been purchased and used in the program.
Sandown SAMMs has gone through an aggressive embryo transfer program to increase the number of animals on the ground and to be able to produce more commercial rams for a growing market.
Sandown SAMMs have also imported more than 1,000 embryos with the objective being to place superior genetics on the market.
Both Tony and Graham place great emphasis on the combination of visual assessment and measurement figures when selecting stud sheep.
"I think you need to use a combination of both. Visually sheep need to be right, but you can also learn a lot of their background and breeding using figures," Graham said.
The pair believes the future of the SAMM lies within its maternal attributes.
"An excellent product can be produced using a Prime SAMM over a Merino ewe," Graham said.
"Producers can utilise the F1 to produce a sheep that converts well, has good growth and fertility and produces top first cross lambs.
"Plus there is the added advantage of getting an acceptable fleece of wool that is nearly equal to a Merino's.
"Another important attribute for today's commercial man is that the SAMM is an easy-care, low-maintenance sheep that can regularly register 130 - 150 pc lambing percentages without any problems".