“Woodyarrup” is a commercial mixed cropping, Merino sheep and livestock feed production enterprise, occupying 4,251 Ha (10,504 acres) of rolling farmland in the Great Southern of WA. We are situated18 kms east of Broomehill on the Broomehill-Gnowangerup Road.
The property sits astride the upper Pallinup River catchment and is characterized by a classic Mediterranean climate pattern – cool, wet winters and hot dry summers. Average annual rainfall is 450 mm.
The property has been owned and operated by the Dewar family since 1979, when Pauline and Gavin Dewar purchased Woodyarrup. The property is now operated by Craig, Lachlan and Isabella Dewar.
The three pillars of the Woodyarrup business are:
Merino sheep – we currently join 2,300 Merino stud ewes, 650 Poll Merino stud ewes, 1,500 commercial Merino ewes.
Cropping – around 2,600 ha are sown for production of wheat, barley, oats and clover.
Livestock feed supply – the Broomehill Stockfeeds feed mill and transport hub are based on the property, supplying bulk and bagged sheep, beef and dairy feed pellets to local and interstate clients.
It has always been a desire to produce Merino genetics to satisfy the WA Merino industry and environment, with genetics being sold to all parts of the Agricultural region of WA.
In the early 1990’s, after 5 years of working on properties in the East, Stud Master / principal, Craig Dewar, made the decision to focus on improving wool qualities while maintaining the attributes Woodyarrup was very well known for, i.e. bone and constitution.
To help us to achieve our aim, we employed Mr Philip Russell as stud classer and Dr Jim Watts as stud consultant, who was followed by Dr Paul Swan. While Dr Paul Swan remains a consultant with us today, I must acknowledge the in-depth work of previous people involved in the building of Woodyarrup.
During the early years of the 1990's we developed a breeding system which is still in place today, with changes being made as we believe necessary without taking from our vision. This system is made up of several components. Some of which are:
- Continual typing up stud ewes and sires every year
- Body weighing
- Fleece weighing
- Fleece testing
- Mothering up lambs
- Artificial Insemination
- Embryo transfer
- Now developing and working with Sheep Genetics Australia.
Woodyarrup is a major supplier of genetics in Western Australia. In recent years our genetics have gone to Victoria, South Australia, New South Wales, Queensland, New Zealand and South Africa with outstanding success.
Our primary focus is to breed a quicker maturing sheep with sound structure and constitution. An animal that carries super soft wool displaying a very deep well-defined crimp. We are looking for high fleece weights and easy shearing sheep on a plain body, that easily get into lamb and hence have high weaning percentages.
We are selecting for:
- High fibre density
- Longer fibres
- Evenly sized fibres
- Cylindrical fibres
- Rich nourishment
In October 2003 we purchased stud poll ewes from the VanDez dispersal sale. While the poll stud is a new challenge, we are very happy with the direction we are taking. We are focussing more on meat attributes, though we are very conscious of meeting today's fleece demands as well. We are prepared to use some outside genetics in Woodyarrup Poll stud where we believe we can acquire a desired attribute to meet our vision.