Australia's oldest and largest registered Finnsheep breeders with all the best genetics and over thirty years of breeding excellence


WORLD'S MOST PRODUCTIVE AND PROFITABLE SHEEP
RESEARCH PROVEN
265% FERTILITY (LAMBS WEANED/EWE JOINED)
All the facts, research evidence, crossbreeding advice, endorsements and where to purchase them...

Finnish Landrace flock established 1981. Finnsheep for sale nationwide and internationally.

(Contact information at bottom of page - Phone: Australia 51223328AH

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 LATEST NEWS:

 FOR SALE: All spare sheep are  usually sold long before Xmas, I'm afraid. You have to get in early as there IS competition - and it will only get worse. Order with a 25% deposit is the best idea if you don't want to miss out. These are simply the best sheep (of any breed, and definitely the best Finns) available anywhere. They will boost your lambing percentages by approx 1-2% for every increase in Finn genetics of 1%. We suggest you stop at 50%, eg 50%Finn + 50% Merino. They will also boost your wool production, increase the value of your wool and make it possible to shear twice per year. Finns and Finncrosses can also be managed to lamb more often than once per year!

 RETIREMENT 2012:

Oh such a lovely word! With considerable sadness we sold our main flock of Finn-Texel ewes which had been weaning 200% and the main farm, retaining just a small farm and about 50-60 of our pure Finns - so we will still have Finns for sale, but they will need to be off the property before Xmas each year so: first come, first served. And now we will have much more time to pursue those other interests: hiking, whitewater canoeing, hunting, craft etc. Wowee! The good news for YOU: You can continue to purchase the best Finnsheep genetics here.

FINNSHEEP
BACKGROUND
(click here to view images of Finnsheep)


Finn ewe ready to deliver quads.

Originally from Scandinavia the Finn is a relative newcomer to New Zealand and Australia, the first animals from selected flocks becoming available only in the 1980s. There have been four importations: Lamb XL,  Sheepak, Australian Texel Corporation (ATC) and University of New South Wales (UNSW). We are the only breeders with genetics from all of them. We are also the largest Finnish Landrace breeders in Australia, and have been commercial farmers for over forty years. Because of this we have been able to make considerable improvements to both Finnsheep, and we note that our sheep are outperformed all others in Department of Agriculture research showing they are the most productive sheep of all breeds used for crossbreeding in the prime lamb industry in Australia. (See: MATERNAL CENTRAL PROGENY TEST )

Our finnsheep are reasonably large (ewes usually around 65 kg to 70 kg). Finn animals have a long lean carcase (fat is carried internally) . A proportion of Finn genes within a composite ewe breed will generally decrease fatness in lamb carcases, a desirable trait. They are fast-growing, medium-fine (22-28u) longwool sheep which can be shorn twice yearly. They have high fertility and research proven fecundity of at least 265% and outstanding mothering and milking characteristics. Our average sheep have been raised by their dams as triplets or quads in the paddock without concentrates or supplementary feed! Postscript: We did not expect them to do so well on the fox-ridden hillside where they now have their home, in OUR retirement, an area where (due to the proximity of so many 'conservationists' and nature 'lovers') it is impossible to bait for foxes, but where, in the past I have shot 34 foxes in a single night on 25 acres! Our mature ewes still managed to raise 200%+ though - out of a drop of about 350%. Other sheep in the same conditions are struggling to raise 50% - they are SUCH good mothers. Some old gals just insisted the foxes weren't going to eat any of THEIR lambs and raised their triplets or quads anyway. God alone knows how!

The Finnsheep is an ancient breed, having been in Finland for over a thousand years, also known by the names of Finnish Landrace or Finn. It is one of several North European short-tailed Landrace (or native) breeds. Some such breeds are sadly in danger of extinction due to the EU's 'scrapie' policies. Some breeds just don't have the gene for scrapie resistance having been around for far longer than the disease. They may sell still be free of it. Some, such as those of North Ronaldsay need no copper in their diet and can subsist on a diet of wave-driven seaweed alone. There is also the giant Icelandic sheep, the Romanov and the four-horned Jacob's to name a few. Magical sheep. Such wondrous breeds surely have much to contribute yet to sheep husbandry. It will be a dire tragedy if they disappear from the earth. Here in Australia in any case with us - and because of us, the Finn breed lives on, whatever dangers it may face from faceless bureaucrats elsewhere. Each year we have sold hundreds to every state in the Commonwealth, so that especially away from the absurd habits of breed societies, the Finn breed thrives in many places.

Because Finland is mainly within the Arctic circle it is only above zero Celsius at night for a short time each year. Therefore the Finns have developed a number of 'landraces' which will produce the maximum offspring from the minimum of animals over-wintering. People might remember the impact that the Landrace Pig had on that industry during the sixties where annual productivity was more than doubled by the infusion of its superior genetics. The introduction of Finnish Landrace sheep genetics into the prime lamb industry is having a similar impact, and it is early days yet. When the time comes for all the sheep to disappear into sheds (just as the pigs did, long since) the Finns will be well represented there: producing two crops of lambs per year or three per two years and achieving annual lambing percentages of 600% or more! The increasingly wealthier Chinese and Indians will pay well in the future for such lambs, believe me.

Trials carried out in recent years here and overseas have shown Finn cross ewes to be clearly more productive than ewes in traditional flocks. This is due to dramatically higher lamb production. When imported into this country, it was expected the wool weights of cross bred would be down by 15% on the wool breed dams. Results so far from OUR sheep have proved that there is ofte4n no loss in wool weight, which is more than compensated by being a finer wool of high lustre, yield and value. We have increased the wool weight on our Finns enormously. Finn-Merino crosses made with our genetics generally have more wool than the original Merinos; the wool is longer, has a lower prickle factor, better character, and is able to be shorn twice per year!

As part of a composite high fecundity ewe breed, the Finn is the best breed anywhere in the world for obtaining an immediate lift in lambing percentage. The Finn is the only breed available where the fertility genes are stable (and where as many as six genes are involved), and from which major increases in lamb production can be achieved in first cross animals. The Finn is sexually precocious (keep the suckers AWAY from the rams!) and will 'cycle' for several months longer than standard British breeds. The ability to extend the killing season is significant in a number of areas.

During the atrocious weather experienced in Gippsland in Aug 2005 for example, the Finns, knee deep in snow or water, proved to be intelligent mothers seeking out the best possible conditions for their lambs. We had ewes who kept four lambs alive on a terrible day (10th August) day though we had virtually zero shelter for them, whilst some sheep flocks (and even herds of dairy cattle) in the district were wiped out entirely. NO ewes died! This toughness and mothering ability (in OUR sheep) is apparent from an early age even as hogget mothers. The ewe's chief concern is with her lambs no matter the number.

In Finland, most Finn hoggets are mated and 80-90 percent lamb. In Australia most Finn cross hoggets will be able to be successfully mated, thus increasing productive efficiency. They are also long-lived sheep. Most of our ewes have been  productive dams over 10, and some over 15!

Finnsheep are not normally shedded or lot fed in Finland and they are mostly browsers, gaining most of their sustenance from the leaves of evergreen trees. Because they are browsers rather than a grazers, they are ideal for cleaning up rough blocks. Pure Finns carry their heads erect and can reach very high for food (over 5 ft), even being able to stand upright on their hind legs.  Supplementary feed in Finland is mainly cabbage. They are a hardy race of sheep and will survive quite extreme conditions providing there is something to eat. Our own experience during the drought of the last ten years was that no Finns starved - whereas quite a number of Border Leicesters (for example) in the same paddock did. While the Borders stood in the middle of the paddock starving and waiting for the next non-existent blade of clover to grow, the Finns were down in the bracken and dogwood, even eating the dead leaves from under the gums - and just generally 'doing'. And surprisingly still doing well: raising three lambs and the like whilst the Borders died, and raised none!

Whereas the 100+ Borders raised less than one lamb each during the worst years, the Finns raised twins or triplets in the same paddock! The only supplements we have ever given the sheep was ad lib access to fair quality hay (when things were desparate) and Olsson's stockblocks in the worst years, so we have not spoiled the animals' rumens with grains and other concentrates. They are very big bellied sheep, able to process huge quantities of poor quality feed. Our clients report that their Finncrosses have inherited this hardiness, but of course to maximise productivity it is more desirable to feed the sheep better than we have sometimes been able to do. Our Borders have long since all been culled.

The Finns' role in Australia is in crossbreeding to produce elite lamb, as a milking strain and generally to improve other breeds with an infusion of Finn genetics. Our sheepmilking clients report that their Fincrosses are the only sheep they have which milk right through from early Spring to later Autumn.

A 25% infusion of Finn genes results in an increased lamb drop of 30% plus.  Half-Finn animals drop 50% plus more lambs whose survival and growth rate is 15-25% better than that of traditional sheep. Most Finncrosses will average pretty close to 200% lambing

SOME GOOD REASONS FOR CHANGING TO  FINNSHEEP

High fertility

Fast lamb growth

Long, lean carcasses

Fine, lustrous wool

Good mothering ability

Parasite and Disease resistance

Easy lambing

Early sexual maturity

Highly intelligent, friendly and docile

Great doing ability

Long lived

Clean breech belly and face, short tail

Conformation: Upright head with extended reach

Easy on fences

Profitability

Constitution

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A BRIEF HISTORY OF FINNISH LANDRACE (FINNSHEEP) IN AUSTRALASIA:

The University of NSW (UNSW) flock (of which we are the sole owners – though we have now established some ‘daughter’ flocks) is the original Finnsheep importation to Australia and precedes the ATC (Australian Texel Corporation) importation (which is all other breeders have) by over ten years. This flock of sheep was derived by the University of NSW from semen collected from three rams imported from two flocks in Iowa in 1981. One flock was owned by Prof Jack Judy who was the Professor of Sheepbreeding at the University of Iowa and a foundation member of the American Finnsheep Breeders Association. The other flock was owned by Robert Thurman. I spoke to Prof Judy and his wife years ago when he was quite elderly: he had been a large-scale commercial sheep breeder for over thirty years. Sheep had mostly moved indoors in Iowa some years before, and were ‘factory farmed’ for maximum lamb production, so that it was quite ‘normal’ for him to produce 600% lambing (annually) from one ewe. He had hundreds of Finns and Finn crosses (such as Finn-Suffolks), and mainly used Dorsets as terminal sires. All three foundation rams were born and raised triplets or quads. One of Prof Judy’s UNSW rams he described (twenty years later) as ‘the best Finn ram he had ever seen’. These Finnish Landrace sheep represented prime stock imported from Finland by the University of Manitoba, Canada in 1968 and purchased from them by Prof Judy.

The rams (and their progeny) were kept in quarantine at Wardang Island, Adelaide for seven plus years. The UNSW flock was graded up (using AI) from Border Leicester ewes first at Wardang Island (beginning in 1984) and after 1990 at Hay NSW in a double-fenced quarantine area. When the quarantine period was completed the original rams were slaughtered and declared free of scrapie & etc. Before they were slaughtered semen was collected which still we have in store. I understand that the importation of this breed of sheep (and another ‘exotic’  ‘pelt’ breed imported simultaneously) cost the Australian taxpayer approximately $4 million!

Amazingly all the 1990-born sheep were still alive and lambing in 2000 though they had enjoyed an awful life. Most still had all their teeth! Most were still alive in 2002! This and the fact that the flock was run at Hay NSW (on country which supports only one sheep per ten acres - where they nonetheless regularly raised triplets) testifies greatly to the hardiness and longevity of this flock, as well as to the perspicacity of the farm manager there.

From 1983 until 1991 only the three Iowa rams were used and the flock attained 87.5-93.5% purity. From 1991 onwards either rams derived from this upgrading were used or AI programmes using Iowa, NZ (Sheepak) and ATC rams were performed, and the flock continued to be around 87.5% pure. Dr Jeff Eppleston Professor of Sheep genetics of the UNSW - and who incidentally, created the White Suffolk sheep breed - was responsible for much of the breeding guidance. He felt that the flock should be kept between 75-87.5% pure with other important characteristics being added from the other 12.5-25%. Principally the other genetic component (at Hay) remained Border Leicester.

We have added a dash of ‘Silverstream’ East Friesian (a related breed) to our Finns (from 1996) to see what genetic improvement we could make, principally in milk production, growth, wool bulk, and muscling. In 2002 we also experimented with introducing/augmenting the four-titted gene (already present) from Keri Keri merinos. In 1999 we introduced some other Finn genetics (embryos) from NZ’s LambXL flock. Sheepak genetics, as I said were introduced in 1998. Our flock, therefore represents FOUR different lines of Finnish Landrace - every other breeder has genetics from only a single importation (ATC).

LambXL was a NZ ‘quango’ which imported up to 7-8 different sheep breeds from Sweden about 1983. An ‘expert’ from Massey University visited Sweden to make this selection. He ‘chose’ to import as wide a range of Finn genetics as he could find (including coloured stock – which we did not want!). We believe he (inadvertently) included many Swedish Fin (sic) – a separate breed – in his selection, mistaking them for Finnish Landrace.

Swedish Fin (sic) sheep: this is a breed of fine woolled sheep from Sweden (Sweden’s – quite inadequate – ‘answer’ to the Merino) which they upgraded with Finnish Landrace over there to improve their fertility. I had long thought that the finer woolled ATC Finns represented this breed (due to their striking difference from the UNSW, Sheepak and the ATC longwoolled variety). This was confirmed for me when we were visited in 2009 by David Williams (an expatriate and) Sweden’s largest Finnish Landrace breeder, who also farmed some Swedish ‘Fin’ sheep over there. (For his comparison, we still had a few older ATC finewools at the time). He could spot the difference instantly. He confirmed that it would have been an easy mistake to have made if the ‘expert’ from Massey Uni was enquiring after ‘fin/n’ sheep. Of course, what this means is that (other than some of our ‘daughter’ flocks) ours may be the ONLY Finnish Landrace flock in Australia! We believe other breeders clearly have a large percentage of this (finewool) or Swedish Fin sheep in their gene pools (probably in excess of 50%). These are sheep we have been largely CULLING for most of twenty years!

Williams Family from Sweden inspecting some of our Finns

The Sheepak importation. Robin Hilson (NZ’s largest ram breeder) from Hawke’s Bay became dissatisfied with the quality of many LambXL Finns quite early on (late 1980’s) (for the same reason as we did) and imported his own selection of REAL Finns from Finland. Like us, he selected longwool Finns with a proven history of paddock raised triplets and quads and natural hardiness. His farm at Hawkes Bay comprises many thousands of acres of quite rugged, wet windswept hillsides. His Sheepak genetics were introduced to our flock from 1998.

The ATC importation of Finns: The Australian Texel Corporation was a private firm who brought two breeds of sheep over from New Zealand (derived from the NZ Lamb XL importation). The great bulk of the Finns they released were ‘finewool’ Finns which cut a very light fleece (well under 2kg!). We chose rather to pursue their longer woolled stock, and particularly sought (and acquired) only stock with a PROVEN record of raising triplets and quads (in the paddock) – which were mostly of this type. In the end, this type of sheep represented about 5% of the ATC offering, and we acquired most of them. Embryos from ATC’s importation became available in 1994 - when we were the first to purchase several selected embryos. We had 14 ATC Finnsheep born in 1994. We attended all subsequent auctions they held and purchased selected stock, as well as making some private purchases of (‘elite’) stock from them, paying not less than $1,000 per head and as much as $3,000 per head, except at their final clearing sale where some stock sold for less than this.

Two of our best ATC purchases were ewes1990-217 and 1992-105 who were just about the only sheep they had who were able to raise quads at Echuca. We purchased an elite UNSW ram in 1997 (U96002), and purchased the entire flock in 1999. Only 2-3 other rams were ever sold by the UNSW - to Scott McIntyre of the Western District. We have semen stored from these rams also – and have used it and the original imported semen eg in 2002. During the years 1995-2002 we undertook a number of AI and ET programmes (eg 50 in 1995 alone!) to improve our Finns (and also purchased Friesian genetics). We have cycled through literally THOUSANDS of Finnsheep to the point we are at now!

The Australian Finnsheep Breeders Association: we remain the only FOUNDATION members of this association – which in its heyday numbered nearly one hundred (once farmer) members founded c1994. We ARE Flock Number 2 (there WAS no Number One!)

We have found the UNSW flock and the Sheepak flock to be superior to the ATC sheep in most ways. We believe that this is because they are pure Finnish Landrace, rather than comprising much of Swedish Fin (sic) genetics - as we are now 99% certain the ATC flock were. (NB The Swedish ‘Fin’ breed were produced by crossing Finnish Landrace with Swedish finewool sheep - the breeding emphasis was on size and fineness and tended to ignore successful profligacy, lamb size, milk production and hardiness. ‘Fin means ‘fine’ in Swedish, so it is easy to see how the import selectors may have got this wrong).

Our clients in colder climes, eg Tasmania and elsewhere report that the ATC sheep have struggled in their areas while our UNSW sheep have thrived and prospered. Robin Hilson (NZ’s largest ram breeder) of Sheepak at Hawkes Bay in NZ - whom we visited recently says the same thing has happened in NZ ie the Sheepak true Finnish Landrace have survived and prospered better than most LambXL varieties.

We have crossed the UNSW flock with selected ATC/LambXL sheep and vice versa since 1995 (using UNSW semen in our first ET programme then) so that by now there are no pure ATC sheep on our property. Our experience has been that less than 10% of ATC sheep met our standards of what a good sheep is, but about 90% of UNSW sheep did. We have selected away from light-framed finewool Finns and Finns who give birth to small offspring and/or who are unable to raise 3-4 lambs of at least 3kg birthweight each in the paddock without assistance. We will not use a ram which wasn’t reared at least a triplet.

We do not think that it is specially important to have the largest sheep (which only eat more) but that productive sheep of good size, muscling and conformation which raise a lot of 40 kg lambs economically are better. We have wanted Finns which cut 4kg plus of wool and who have a little fat on their backs to keep them warm. We have selected sheep with large rumen capacity and who can produce significant quantities of milk. Our best sheep are raising litters of three plus lambs whose total weight is 100kg plus at 84 days (weaning). Anyone can see that this amounts to 1000 litres of milk in 84 days. Our best lamb was 47 kg at 75 days (This was as an ET) and his progeny outgrew all other breeds in the MCPT trials at Hamilton. Many of our other rams are also excelled in trials eg in fertility, fecundity, wool quality, lamb survival & etc.

As a result of our Finns now being superior to either original Finnsheep importation we chose to call them ‘improved Finns’.

LATEST NEWS
(for more news click here)

Finn Ewe with Texel quads: Combined weight at 12 weeks (84 days) over 100kg .

PREGNANCY TOXAEMIA CURE: This is usually a minor problem with Finncross sheep as Finns for some mysterious reason are not very susceptible to it despite the multiple births however during the drought we have had some ewes with it and have worked out a cure! This is really good as it turns it from a 100% fatal illness to something which is about 10% fatal. Just like everyone else we too have been dosing sheep with the recommended treatments only to see them die anyway but we now realise that if you give at least FOUR TIMES the recommended dose of BOTH the two main treatments they will most likely recover and be up and gone in half an hour. We don't want to be held liable for this but it worked for us and the only other alternative is a dead ewe and lambs. So that's four times the recommended dose of propylene glycol ORALLY (200 ml) and four times the dose of Minject 4 in 1 (mainly sodium boroglutamate I think) SUBCUTANEOUSLY (100-200ml multiple sites). Sometimes daily or twice daily dosing is required. Some sheep will still die but our experience is that 90% will get up and walk away within minutes and then lamb normally!

LAMB TONNES PER HECTARE: Even during the 2006-7 drought we produced over one tonne of lambs (liveweight) per hectare. (Approx 10 lambs per acre @ one lambing per ewe per year). Such is the productivity of Finn crosses on good country. On irrigation and lambing twice per year or three times per two years producers should be able to achieve nearly two tonnes per hectare liveweight or nearly one tonne carcass weight per hectare. At $4.50 per kilogram this works out at $4,500 per hectare per year! Our advice: give Finnsheep a try!

THE DROUGHT: We came through the drought with our ewe flock intact thanks to the doing ability of the sheep, having nearly adequate stored feed (though our 2006 hay/silage season was abysmal), implementing a small irrigation project, planting a summer crop (Millet/Annual Rye) and gaining access to a spare paddock across the road. Of course sales were not as good as usual as few people could buy breeding stock because of the drought, so unfortunately some of our ewe lambs were sold to slaughter at reasonable prices - but it was a pity to lose their potential.  The drought 'ended' here on 28th February 2007 as predicted by one of the long-range weather forecasters after pretty much zero rain for months. The sheep have been doing well ever since. 

IMAGES: Check out our new Images page for more pix of Finns and Finncrosses than you can poke a Finn at!

BUY: Order 2014 Finn-Texel ewe lambs now for $110 each. Orders taken on payment of 25% deposit. November delivery. Finns approx $440 ea but cheaper if you buy eg the whole drop. We WILL do a deal!

DELIVERY: You can arrange delivery anywhere for example to Central NSW  or Tasmania add approx $50 per sheep, to Western Australia add approx $150 per sheep. You will need to ask for a quote as numbers will affect freight cost, eg to freight 200 sheep to Central NSW may cost less than $10 per head.

TRIALS: A trial conducted at Kirra South Australia reported:
“Maiden Merino/ Finn cross ewes mated to a Texel sire lambed 180% lambs born mid October, weaned 160% lambs at 14 weeks of age. At weaning each lamb averaged 37.3 kg or each ewe weaned 61.2 kg of lamb”.

SURVEY: A Quote from a Survey of users producing 1st X lambs using Finn Sires 
"we sold approximately 160 Finn/Merino wether lambs at the same time we were marketing the standard 1st cross wethers (BL/M). The Finn cross were almost a month younger and the carcase weights were almost identical to the BL lambs. They were definitely leaner. The Finn cross carcases stood out against the BL sired carcases because they were very smoothly skinned. The muscle pattern and finishing ability of the Finn cross is quite satisfactory. Slightly more length of leg in the carcase but there were no deductions for the Finn cross in comparison with the BL sired first cross lambs."

EXPORTS: We have continued to export genetic material eg to China and South America where there is increasing interest in our unique genetics. We again sold significant consignments of sheep interstate especially to Western Australia, Tasmania, Queensland and New South Wales. Client feedback indicates that our genetics are having an amazing effect on the nation's sheep flock. Farmers continue to report improvements in size of sheep, conformation, doing ability, six monthly shearing intervals, twinning, better milking and mothering etc.

LONG WOOLS: We have now successfully developed long wool Finns with fleece lengths (@ one year old) of up to one foot (30 cm) at @25 micron or less with thin, soft rolling skins (SRS) and typically able to raise triplets and quads. These genetics continue to be eagerly sought by the Merino industry in Australia to improve that breed and produce a Finn-Merino hybrid which produces two cuts of 5kg plus per year of fine wool and two good lambs per lambing.

Check out this Finn fleece growth at six months of age:

         
He grew to look like this (centre):

Finn and Finn-Texel rams.

In 2004 clients sold this type of Finn-Merino lambs' wool @ $5.50-kg off five months' old lambs as compared with their adult Merino wool at $7-8/kg. These producers observed that the length of their lambs' wool assured them that they could achieve two shearings per year as stated above. (Their breeding objective is to achieve two cuts of 8 kg per year and at least two lambs raised each lambing!).

In a normal year such sheep offer the prospect of $80-100 of wool and $150-200 worth of lambs giving return per ewe to $300 per year or better. On irrigation (or shedded) a well-managed flock might achieve two lambings per calendar year. A small flock of such ewes (1,000) has the prospect of grossing $300,000 per annum from a single lambing and can be run on less than 100 hectares of good land in South-Eastern Australia, land which could cost itself less than $600,000! These genetics are really on track to return profitability to the sheep industry in Australia.

RESULTS: The Maternal Central Progeny Test's results are now in for the three years' joining of a variety of crosses developed for their fertility (see Technical Bulletin 50 Page 44 NSW Dept of Primary Industries: Sire progeny means for annual lambing rate - 1st cross ewes). Unfortunately the research scientists overall did not have the expertise that the average farmer has to gain the best from the sheep in their care and overall lambing percentages for all breeds and lamb losses were most disappointing. Seasonal factors have also been poorer than normal.

The average lambs weaned per ewe joined for the traditional Border Leicester Merino cross was 103% from lambs born per ewe joined of 123% and 146% litter size per ewe lambing - well down on normal farming practice.

East Friesian Merino crosses achieved 115% lambs weaned per ewe joined from 132% lambs born per ewe joined and 150% litter size per ewe lambing. Lamb losses like this of approximately one-third across all breeds would not normally occur on a profitable farm.

The Finn Merino crosses performed better than this as might be expected with 117% lambs weaned per ewe joined from 161% lambs born per ewe joined and 179% litter size per ewe lambing!

The study does demonstrate that there are significant improvements to be made in prime lamb production from a switch to Finn and East Friesian genetics and particularly to Finn genetics -  of at least 30%. Our client experience from practical farmers is that improvements in productivity of 50-70% in lamb production are the norm.

Most of our farmer clients are managing to market larger percentages per ewe joined than the study managed to get on the ground ie normally around 180% lambs to market from Finn-Merino ewes on the mainland and even better in Tasmania!

 

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 GOOD FEATURES OF FINNS
(click here to view images of Finnsheep)

NO MULESING: Because the Finn has a bare breech and a short thin tail and a very thin wrinkle free skin, Finncross progeny particularly Finn-Merino crosses do not require mulesing to ensure freedom from flystrike. This is a great step forward for the sheep industry. This characteristic persists in Finn- merino crosses containing quite small percentages of Finn genetics as does the increase in fertility and some other desirable characteristics.

FAT: Our pure Finns are very lean, in fact leaner than the Texel on the outside, and have fair eye muscle depth. Fat score is generally around 2 - there is a marked tendency to build up fat deposits internally. Our Finncrosses are as a consequence leaner than traditional crosses (usually 3-4) and more likely to store fat internally. This is a big saving to the works.

FERTILITY: The Finn ewe is sexually precocious (Finn ewes and rams will successfully mate from around four months of age!) and has a longer breeding season than traditional breeds - Finn-Merino hoggets usually produce 100-140% lambing! We have many clients with flocks of over 500+ adult ewes which have averaged around 200%. One client from Tasmania sold 210% Dorset lambs from his Finn-Merinos from 1997 to 2000 compared to 120% from his traditional first-cross ewes and achieved $1's more each for the Finncrosses! This client has also regularly lambed twice in one calendar year, six months apart and raised spectacular averages both times (210% in Spring and 100% plus in Autumn - 300% plus per calendar year! Of course this requires excellent sheep management and pasture.

Three lambings per 24 months which is still 300% per annum are easier, and routine in some flocks but some Finn-crosses such as the Polypay in the USA are being lambed twice every calendar year and their best ewes are producing 600% per year - again this is a quality derived from the Finn breed. This may be the future for the Australian prime lamb industry too, (See: FINNSHEEP LINKS ).

WOOL: The longwool Finns we have developed (with their very thin wrinkle-free skins) are capable of making Finn-Merino crosses with improved wool characteristics and yield capable of twice per year shearing. This is a really big bonus.

RAMS: The pure Finn ram is extremely fertile - able to cover up to 200 ewes - and will mate successfully at a very early age (close to three months!). Six month old rams can join 100 ewes if carefully managed. Giving mature rams 50-100 ewes would be more normal management. You don't want to kill him! These rams will produce first-cross ewes whose lambings average aound 200%. The same equally applies to other composites we produce (eg Finn-Texels) because we only sell rams who were triplets or quads. You can pretty much dial up the fertility you want from your prime lamb dams by using Finn genetics, eg by breeding Finncross rams to your specifications.

GROWTH: Finn cross growth is exceptional: 11 month olds have been weighed at 95 kilos! The progeny of our Finn ram No.96.85 have topped growth at Hamilton Research Centre in 1999 with lambs at 35kg at weaning (better than Border Leicesters, East Friesians, & etc)- and this was in a very ordinary season.(See: MATERNAL CENTRAL PROGENY TEST )

Purebred Finns and crossbreeds produced with Romneys and Coopworths have shown Suffolk growth rates - but with extraordinary leanness - especially their Texel cross lambs have been consistent carcass competition winners. Three quarter Texel lambs from Finn-Texel ewes have won many carcass competition in Victoria for the past six years.  

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FINN-CROSSES
WHY CONSIDER AN INFUSION OF FINN GENES?
(click here to view images of Finnsheep and Finn-Crosses)

PRIDE: First and foremost you can continue to feel pride that you are producing at least medium finewool sheep. It is also nice to know that you have the most productive sheep in the world.

MORE LAMBS: The Finncross lamb is leaner and livelier. This means greater ease of lambing and less fox predation, thus lower lamb and ewe losses. (Our Australian research shows that our Finncross lambs have had the best survival rate compared with all other breeds - See: MATERNAL CENTRAL PROGENY TEST ). More importantly having lively lambs which get straight up and follow the dam trains the young ewe to be a better mother. Most importantly more live lambs means more profit!

A flock of sheep which averages 200% can be 1000% more profitable than a flock of sheep which averages 100%! This is because all the biggest farm costs (capital, equipment, etc) have already been paid for. (See: FINNSHEEP NEWSCLIPPINGS )

LAMBS: The value and demand for Finn-Merino ewes makes this a desirable option. Ewe lambs have been bringing as much as $100, and it is unlikely the market will be oversupplied for a decade. Heavyweight Finn-Merino wethers have also sold at over $100. Pelt prices have usually been higher for Finn-Merinos and may get much higher - pure Finn pelts are worth over $50 in Scandinavia and they would take hundreds of thousands! It may be that certain Finn cross lambs will bring nearly as much for their pelts as for their carcass. It is desirable to sell Finn cross wethers directly to the works because their reduced back fat can lead buyers to mistake them for stores. (See: FINNSHEEP QUOTES ) Let's face it though: two lambs at whatever price are going to be worth more than one!

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FINN-MERINO
THE EWE FOR YOU!
(click here to view images of Finn-Merinos)

In Australia the Finn-Merino is the prime lamb mother of the future. Below we see the Finn-Merino cross compared to the traditional first cross:

Border Leicester:     160-180%
Plus Merino:             90%
= First Cross Ewe:     125-135%

Finn:                        260%
Plus Merino:                90%
= Finn-Merino:         175% PLUS

In other words 1,000 ewes will produce at very least 400 more lambs. If an average price were $40 (net), this would mean an extra $16,000 plus per year! And we all know that prices lately have been much better than that and that the net on the second lamb is much greater than on the first! This represents an improvement in profitability of 250% plus - see FINNSHEEP NEWSCLIPPINGS . Of course if you have superior fertility Merino genetics (such as Keri Keri @ 140%) an infusion of Finnish Landrace genetics at say 25% (eg by crosing with one of our Finn-Merinos) should lift your Merino lambing by about 30% to around180% plus. On excellent feed such sheep should be able to be shorn twice per year. If you can select for four-titters, you will have unbeatable sheep. The Finn-Friesian-Merino and Finn-Texel-Merino are also shaping up as superior breeds.

WOOL

Various Finn crosses (eg Finn-Romneys) have cut 5-6 kilos of wool every 9 months. The Finn-Merino's generally under-25 micron wool has been attracting prices comparable to that of similar merinos and some breeders have achieved better prices.

 

Finn-Merino ram @ six months: 6” plus fleece length!

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FINN-FRIESIAN
A WHOLE NEW BALL-GAME!
(click here to view images of Finn-Friesians)

 

 PLEASE NOTE:  We no longer have any of these sheep for sale. Having retired to become smallholders, we have had to concentrate almost exclusively on the pure Finns, but you can make your own with our genetics!

Introducing the East Friesian sheep to Australian farmers. The sheep were in quarantine in New Zealand for three and one half years having been imported from Scandinavia, and have undergone compulsory rigorous testing for Scrapie, Johnes disease & etc. During this time they were crossed with a number of breeds and had their progress carefully monitored. At the end of that time an auction of surplus animals was held. Six-month old pure Friesian rams sold to $28,000, and various Friesian crosses to $3,500! This surely indicates the extent of the interest across the Tasman at the time, and should be a reasonable guide to the potential of the breed both as a milking strain and as a maternal breed in prime lamb production in Australia.

BREED CHARACTERISTICS

The East Friesian is a large sheep (ewes 85-95 kg unjoined) from the Dutch-German border where it is the basis of a sheep milking industry as the best may produce 500-600 litres of milk over a 210-230 day lactation. It is worth noting that most of the world's milking sheep have about 3/8ths Finn and 1/8th Friesian. In France Finn-Friesian crosses' milk is used to produce the famous Roquefort cheese, and Pecorino in Italy. Australia imports approximately $10 million worth of sheep milk products per year and some industry figures suggest there is an untapped export market of in excess of $50 million.

It has a fecundity of around 150+ and its lambs growth and leanness are spectacular. East-Friesian-Romney crosses in New Zealand grew at an average of 412 g per day for the first twelve days of life, and thereafter averaged 360 g per day to 7 weeks when they averaged 23.3 kg! Friesian cross lambs here have been excelling in growth and leanness in various studies. This was over 100 g per day greater than the traditional Border Leicester-Romney cross over there, a fact which augurs well for crossing them with Merinos here. There is a potential to utilise this growth by producing meat-Friesian cross rams for use as terminal sires, eg 75% Texel+ 25% Friesian are becoming popular in NZ

Our Finn-Friesians grew at nearly 500g per day for the first month of life and weighed 20-25 kg at 28 days, and 40-45 kg at 75 days! Only our Finns have done bettter than that.Our Finn ram No.96.85 was 47 kg at 75 days on straight pasture. His progeny outgrew all others at Hamilton in 1999.

They are very lean on the outside of the carcass (moreso than the Texel) with most of the body fat inside. This factor together with their growth rate makes them ideal for producing three types of lamb: beta lambs with a carcass weight of under 10 kg at 2-3 weeks, sucker lambs at 6-10 weeks and heavy weight lambs at over 25 kilos with very little fat.

Purebreds shore 4.5-5 kg of 37 micron white wool. They have a thin, bare tail similar to the Finn: in effect they are naturally mulesed . Finns and Friesians can pass this characteristic onto their stable crossbreeds with careful selection, thus eliminating the need for tail docking.

Our Finn-Friesians have the following characteristics: ewes to 90 kg; milk production in excess of 2 litres per day, wool @ 4.5 kg plus and approx 30 micron, super-lean carcass, extremely fast growing, fecundity about 250% with superior lamb survival rate. Nearly all our Finn-Friesians had three lambs or better and most raised them quite satisfactorily in the paddock. Indeed the average triplet at weaning was exactly the same weight as the average twin and above 25 kg!

We believe that a flock of Finn-Friesians would produce as well as an average flock of diary goats. We have many who have raised a total lamb weight of 80kg plus at weaning at 12 weeks on very ordinary pastures (we have been in drought for three years), and this represents a lot of milk! Mind you, our best Finn produced 105 kg of lamb in the same time!

PURE Friesians did not DO well on pasture (unlike Finns). We believe East Friesians are a specialty breed.

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FINN-TEXEL
WORLD'S BEST PRIME LAMB SHEEP!
(click here to view images of Finn-Texels)
 

This cross is currently dominating prime lamb production in Europe. This stable cross was first developed in the Netherlands and there called the New Hollander, (an appropriate name for Australia if there ever was one). It combines the best of the two parent breeds. From the Texel we get excellent muscling, hardiness, good growth, and a dense protective fleece. From the Finn comes fertility, growth, leanness, good mothering, excellent milking ability, hardiness and a softer fleece. Thousands of these sheep are producing 200% lambing also in New Zealand in rough hill country, and their lambs (produced by mating them back to Texel rams) meet the highest carcass standards. These sheep are as hardy as Perendales and Cheviots but produce more and better lambs. They are great sheep for tough conditions and may be the most efficient and productive prime lamb producers in the world. One New Zealand studmaster is selling 1500 rams per year; his rams alone joining 3%+ of all NZ sheep! (See Sheepak and One Stop Ram Shop in GIPPFINN FINNSHEEP NEWS )

We suggest using Finn-Texel (50:50 or25:50) over other Finncrosses (eg Finn-Merinos to grade them up to Finn-Texels. The best mix to aim for is probably about 37.5 Finn: 62.5 Texel. This cross's heavy weight lambs produced from a terminal ram (in New Zealand Suffolk-Oxford Down and Dorper cross rams are a rising choices) have to be seen to be believed...

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FINNSHEEP RESEARCH
(for more finnsheep research click here)

The Finn has been the most studied sheep in the world over the last twenty years... 

We include here excerpts from some studies done and indicate where these may be found. The unanimous conclusion of this huge body of research is that the Finnsheep is the most productive sheep in the world.

1. Maijala, K.A. Review of Experiences about the use of Finnsheep in improving fertility. Proc. 2nd World Congress Sheep and Beef Cattle Breeding , Pretoria, 16-19 April 1984. Eds Hofmeyer, J.H. & Meyer, EH, South African Studbook and Livestock Improvement Association, Bloemfontein. This is a summary of 120 studies on Finnsheep from 18 countries. "Finnsheep and their crosses were compared with approx 40 different breeds and their crosses." 80 studies here from the British Isles and USA for example showed that Finncrosses weaned an average of 167% more lambs per ewe joined than non-Finn sheep and their crosses . They were 141% more fertile (ie ewe lambing per ewe joined) yet their lamb survival was 105% & their weaning weights were 105% of other breeds.

2. Hofmeyr, JH, 1982 Implications of Experimental Results of Crossbreeding Sheep in the Republic of South Africa, Proc. World Congress Sheep & Cattle Breeding Vol 1, Technical, New Zealand, 28 October- 13 November 1980. Eds Barton RA, & Smith WC. Dunmore Press, Ltd Palmerston North, New Zealand. "In spite of having the lightest birth weight the Merino-Finn lambs grew comparatively faster than all other breeding groups....Merino-Finn wool was more like Merino than all of the other crossbred wools...The Finn-Merino crosses show favourable heterosis in fertility, early maturity, survival rate, and some fleece characteristics...Merino-Finns had the best crossbred carcasses both at first cross (yield 43.4%) & second cross (yield 57.8%)...Merino-Finns lambed @ 181.4% and Border Leicester-Merinos @137.2%... fertility in the Merino can be effectively increased in a first cross to a level which might be achieved after more than 50 years of selective breeding. "

3. A comparison of Dorset and Finnish Landrace crossbred ewes, Cochran KP, Notter DR, &McLaugherty FS, 1984, Journal of Animal Science Vol 59, p329. "Average total income/100 ewes lambing was higher for 1/2 Finns ($8996) than for 1/4 Finns ($8246) and Dorsets ($7144)...If an increase in lamb marketed/ewe joined is a primary goal in improving efficiency, the Finn is an excellent choice for the prolific ewe breed. Finn crossbred ewes have a higher reproductive rate and greater lifetime productivity such that an increase of 40% or more in number of lambs born ...seems to be a reasonable expectation.."

4. Lifetime meat production from six different F1 crossbred ewes, Greef JC, Roux CZ & Wyma GA South African Journal of Animal Science ,1990, Vol 2, p2. "The Finnish Landrace - Merino had the highest productivity owing to their exceptionally higher fecundity, and the higher mean survival rate of their lambs from birth to weaning...than the mean for other groups."

For more finnsheep research see: FINNSHEEP_RESEARCH

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FOR SALE

 
Many people are booking our sheep up a year or two in advance on a 25% deposit
The rule is: get in early and don't be disappointed!


We usually have for sale Finn (and possibly Finn-Texel) rams.

Many of our animals make excellent  maternal sires for the prime lamb industryand some will form the basis of a sheep milking industry where their progeny should more than double present average yields.


We also have Finn ewes and a few Finn-Texel ewes.


We also have semen, embryos and of course wool!


We sell our sheep at normal commercial prices.
RAMS from $220.00. (Finn crosses) Finns: $440
EWES from $110.00 for Finn-cross weaner ewes. Finn ewes from $440. All prices include GST. Special price for bulk orders: make a deal!

Clients need not worry that they will have to sell their farms to buy them. We would rather see them out there working than attracting the highest prices in the world. These are simply the best commercial sheep in Australia!


We have arranged delivery almost anywhere, but would now prefer you did it yourself. We are retired and have smaller numbers, and want just to do 'retirement' things. 
 

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Steve & Della Jones
Gippfinn Finnsheep Stud
130 Jeeralang West Rd Morwell 3840
Australia
         CONTACT US

 

Email: 
stevendella@finnsheep.com

 

 

 

Telephone: 
(From Australia)
0351223328
(Internationally)
613 51223328
Mobile
(From Australia)  
0427041253  
(Internationally)
61427041253

 

 

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