ONE of WA's largest White Suffolk studs, the Yanda White Suffolk, Karlgarin, has a new home following its sale by the Argent family.
The sheep will not have far to travel to their new home, with the Ledwith family, Kolindale Merino and Poll Merino stud, Dudinin, the new owners.
The sale bought to a close 17 years of White Suffolk breeding for the Argent family after the stud was founded in 1997 by Trevor and Rosie Argent, before being transferred to their son John in 1998.
John Argent said they initially set up the stud to breed rams for their own use, to use over Merino ewes for prime lamb production.
"But as numbers grew we began to sell any surplus rams privately to local producers," Mr Argent said.
The stud was founded on 30 ewes from the Mount Ronan stud, York, plus six ewes and one ram from the Ida Vale stud, Kojonup.
Also in the early years two more lines of ewes from Mount Ronan, including a mated line, were purchased to build numbers up.
Since that time numerous other White Suffolk bloodlines from around Australia have been introduced through sire purchases
These include Jocklor, Wesswood, Iveston, Kiara, Brimfield and Bundarra Downs from South Australia.
Mr Argent said their aim was always to breed a nice, big, long ram with meat through the loin and the backend.
"Our focus was for a meaty animal," he said.
"We also wanted to have that more Suffolk type with a Roman nose and big ears.
"An easy lambing type was also important to us as we knew most of our clients were using our rams over Merino ewes."
The stud first started to sell at auction when the Hyden and Districts Ram Breeders ram sale was established in 2007 and over the years the number of the rams offered by the stud in the sale has grown.
Its success at the sale culminated last year when it achieved its best ever result when it offered and sold 70 rams at an average of $1060.
The stud has also been no stranger to the White Suffolk judging ring at the IGA Perth Royal Show and Make Smoking History Wagin Woolorama over the last five years.
It started showing in Perth in 2010 and Wagin in 2011.
Its biggest success in the showring was in 2013 at Wagin Woolorama when it exhibited the supreme interbreed British and Australasian breeds exhibit and champion interbreed British and Australasian breeds ram.
Mr Argent said the main reason they started showing was to see where their White Suffolks stood in relation to others in the breed.
"It was a really good benchmarking tool and gave us an indication of where we needed to improve," he said.
The purchase of the stud by the Ledwith family will make them one of the biggest sheep seedstock producers in WA and follows on from their purchases of Merino breeding stock from the Lewisdale and Lewisdale-Corrigin studs in recent years.
The Ledwiths will run the White Suffolk stud on a different farm to their Merino stud operation.
Luke Ledwith said the opportunity to purchase the Yanda White Suffolk stud was too good a chance to walk pass.
"We think the lamb industry is going to be really strong going forward, so to be able to purchase Yanda was ideal, as it is one of the top White Suffolk studs in WA," he said.
"We have been observing the stud for the last couple of years and seen it continuing to grow and perform for the Argents, so we are confident it will bring a lot to our operation.
"The demand for White Suffolk rams has grown substantially over the last couple of years so we are excited about running the stud in the future and continuing to grow it.
"It is one of the best prime lamb breeds and it appears to do better in the tougher Wheatbelt conditions compared with other meat breeds.
"It is a breed with high growth which allows you the opportunity to turn lambs off quicker, so it is the perfect breed for the Wheatbelt meat producer."
Knowing the stud has been developed in a similar area to where they farm also gives the Ledwiths confidence in terms of how the sheep will perform for them in the future.
"These sheep have been bred for our area and conditions, so we know they are going to perform," Mr Ledwith said.
The sale, which was negotiated through Landmark Prime Lamb specialist Roy Addis, comprised 450 mated ewes, 120 ewe lambs, 150 ram lambs and six stud sires.
The mated ewes are aged two to 5.5 years and have been naturally mated to a selection of Iveston, Brimfield and Kiara White Suffolk sires.
Mr Addis said Landmark would continue to work with the Ledwith family now they had taken over the stud.
"The stud has gone to a good home and I believe the Ledwith family will continue to take it forward and grow it even further," Mr Addis said.
Already the Ledwiths have decided that they will offer the Yanda White Suffolk rams at their on-property ram sale at Dudinin in September following the Merino and Poll Merino rams.
Mr Ledwith said their aim would be to sell 100 White Suffolk rams at the end of the on-property sale this year with the balance available by private selection.
Mr Argent will continue to work with the Ledwiths as an adviser in terms of ram selection and ewe matings.