Australian Dohne Breeders Association - MISSION STATEMENT
The Australian Dohne Breeders Association’s mission is to professionally develop a superior dual purpose sheep with a marketing edge, which is competitive in meeting the present and changing needs of the livestock markets, the consumer and the industry.
History of Dohne sheep in Australia.
The development of the Dohne in Australia began in 1997. Negotiations between two Western Australian breeders and the Dohne Merino Breed Society of South Africa resulted in more than 600 embryos being imported into Australia. The first lambs from these embryos were born in October 1998. In 1999 a further 300 embryos were imported in a joint venture between South African breeders and a Western Australian breeder.
In the mid to late 1990s there were an increasing interest in prime lamb production in the light of modest wool prices. The Australian foundation breeders were extremely impressed with the dual purpose nature of the journey. In particular the Dohne's high fertility, combined with its ability to produce faster growing slaughter prime lambs without compromising their wool production or fibre diameter was a major advantage.
The Australian foundation breeders considered the Breed could play a major role within the farm enterprises in Western Australia. They felt the Dohne breed;
The foundation breeders in Western Australia began an extensive flushing program to rapidly boost the genetic numbers and to sell genetics that allowed new ram breeding flocks to be established. A small number of rams also began to be sold to commercial producers.
A further 3 importations of embryos were made from South Africa. These were made by New South Wales based breeders in June 1999 and June and July 2000. A total of 1732 embryos where imported in their shipments, 600, 600 and 532 respectively.
The importation of embryos from South Africa were from a range of flocks to obtain the best selection and ensure a diverse genetic base from which the Dohne could be developed in Australia.
In November 1999 a meeting at Dubbo of seven interested people formed a steering committee to assist the breed's development in Australia. The committee's major aim was to facilitate the formation of a progressive breed society.
The committee used South African society as a model, in particular best use of broad industry representation and is cooperative approach to breed development, education and promotion. The make up of the committee itself reflected this aspiration, as it included breeders and service providers from Western Australia and New South Wales.
The committee also had as a priority to continue, in general, the South African Dohne breeding objective and breeding system. The seven people who formed a steering committee had a number of national phone meetings before meeting face-to-face in Dubbo to form the committee. This one face-to-face meeting and the many long telephone meetings that followed allowed a unified approach to the development of administrative and breeding requirements of an Australian Dohne Breeder’s Association. In October 2000 the steering committee conducted the inaugural meeting of the Australian Dohne Breeders Association Ltd (ADBA) at Katanning, in a Western Australia.
Membership of the ADBA grew rapidly with associate members and 35 registered breeders by the second Annual General Meeting of the ADBA a year later. By April 2002 the number of registered breeders had risen to 51, with members from all main states in Australia.
The corporate approach to development of the Dohne breed in Australia continued after the formation of the ADBA. Well supported ADBA general meetings and a very active broad-based ADBA Council backed by committees in Western and eastern Australia have resulted in the progress of the journey within the Australian agricultural production environment.
At its formation the ADBA established an across flock, for category, performance and evaluation service for its members. The Dohne is the only livestock breed in Australia that requires its seed stock breeders to record and use across flock, for category, performance genetic evaluation. The initiative and development needed to establish such a service reflected the ADBA's desire to effectively service commercial producers and their customers.
The ADBA and its members are involved in many educational, training and promotional activities. Education and training has been a major focus of the ADBA, resulting in the development of training manuals and workshops for commercial producers and ram breeders. Education and training covers a wide range of areas included Dohne breeding, production, marketing and consumers requirements for meat and wool.
The period from 1998 to 2002 has largely seen the development of Dohne seed stock based on to maximise the breed's genetic progress. Commercial production has begun, with impressive results despite production as yet not being from pure bred Dohne flocks. Production advantages such as high reproduction have yet to be capitalised on.
The next period of the Dohne's history must see the strong development of a commercial production resulting from, in the first place, using Dohne rams over merino ewes. This must be extended to breeding up to pure bred Dohne flocks in order to capture all the breed's commercial advantages that have resulted from the foresight of the people who developed the Dohne in South Africa and now Australia.