Southdown Sheep Society, NZ

"The sheep with an illustrious past and a very bright future"

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The Southdown is a sheep with an illustrious past and a very bright future

1950

1950

Since the Agricultural Revolution (1700’s) to the present day no breed has contributed more to the advancement to the sheep meat industry than the Southdown. Almost without exception every British meat breed has used the Southdown to Establish or improve their breed. In 200 years the Southdown has changed.

And the momentum of change will continue

The success of the southdown over the 200 year period illustrated must be credited to a continuum of outstanding Stud masters. Men who were able to read the market signals of their day and tailor make a sheep to suit.

1960

1960

We will highlight the capabilities of the Modern Southdown and illustrate how ideally suited it is as terminal sire to produce lambs that conform to today’s market requirements.

Some recent changes are obvious

From being a small, low-set, blocky, heavy shouldered animal with a short neck in the 1950’s – the Modern Southdown has grown to be a much larger sheep that is longer, leaner, more upstanding, yet retaining a good loin and hindquarter. Stud sires in the 50’s would weigh around 80-85kgs. Today they weigh 120-170kgs. Length has also increased and today a Southdown can measure a meter along the back. The body measurements more than compare with other breeds.

1970

1970

Mobility has also improved. The Modern Southdown moves very freely and is being used as successfully on steep hill country today as it is in it’s more traditional domain the easy finishing country.

Some changes are not so obvious

Under the pelt there have been some significant changes too:-

Fat Cover

The Modern Southdown is a lean sheep. Ultra sonic scanning has shown that Ram Hoggets weighing in excess of 100kgs can have GR measurements as low as 10-12mm – 40 – 100% leaner than other terminal sires and comparable with a Texel. Farmers using the Modern Southdown do not have an over fat problem on their killing Sheets.

1980

1980

Meat Content

The Modern Southdown produces a high yielding lamb carcass with an excellent meat to bone, fat and tissue ratio. Again Ultra-sonic scanning has shown the Southdown to be more than equal to his counterparts in other breeds. Key sires are recording ‘eye-muscle’ measurements (EMA) at the 12th rib in excess of 35 cm2

Meat Quality

1990

1990

Southdown meat is more tender, more tasty and has better eye appeal than other sheep meats. The zinc & iron content of Southdown meat is good news for the health conscious.