US breeder hooked on Aussie Corriedales

28 Jul, 2011 08:00 AM
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Jim Venters with visiting American Corriedale breeder and judge Geoff Ruppert.
Jim Venters with visiting American Corriedale breeder and judge Geoff Ruppert.

VISITING American Corriedale devotee Geoff Ruppert is sticking to the dual purpose breed’s wool for a few good reasons.

He has a ready market for the top fleeces from his Australian-blood flock, shipping them all over the United States from Fairfield, Pennsylvania, in vacuum sealed plastic bags to hand spinners for US$10-$20 a pound, equivalent to A$23.30-$46.60 a pound or A51.26-$102.52 a kilogram.

Only the top 40 per cent of his flock’s fleeces were sold into the market, but he has a waiting list of buyers that contact him via the internet. The return on his top hand spinning fleeces was like getting another lamb form a ewe, he said.

All the other wool from his flock of 75 is worth about US$1.60 a pound or A$3.75 a kilogram to commercial buyers, but this is still better than what Corriedale wool has been bringing for several years in America.

“It’s fantastic – the price hasn’t been over $1 a pound in years,” Mr Ruppert said at the recent Australian Sheep and Wool Show.

His sheep generally produced fleece from 28-29 for ewes and up to 35 microns for rams.

The practising veterinarian was invited to the Bendigo show to judge the Corriedale School Competition.

“I wanted to come to see the roots of the breed,” he said.

Since 2002, Mr Ruppert has used semen from the Liberton stud of Jim and Brenda Venters of Stonehaven in Victoria to give him the sheep that produce the desired hand spinning type fleeces with good staple length and character.

“The Liberton genetics have made it successful,” Mr Ruppert said.

The male lambs from his flocks are sold as 55 kilograms liveweight rams into ethnic markets via Pennsylvania.

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