Right from the start the Dowling family have approached Merino sheep breeding from a different angle to most breeders. Back in 1926, Ray Dowling went to South Australia and purchased the biggest rams he could buy from Kalabity Station, near Broken Hill, with a view to breed sheep that would survive, and thrive in marginal climatic conditions.
By 1956 Keri-Keri was producing market topping sale ewes (aged 1.5 years) and they still do that today.
“The Keri-Keri stud was started in 1962, with ewes from our flock and rams from Moorna (Parent stud of Kalabity). At this time we started to lamb down most of our ewes on irrigated pasture and saw that we were getting huge lambing percentages – over 150% in some mobs, and these lambs developed very rapidly. We knew we had a superior milking sheep. Through the 70’s to the mid 80’s we selected for milking sheep based on our criteria of Survival, Reproduction, Wool and Meat. (In that order)”.
“The downside of this method is less attractive wool, and during the 80’s and early nineties we started putting the better wools together, and made some significant gains in lowering the micron, and actually increasing the wool cut at the same time, whilst still maintaining all the other desirable attributes such as a large wide frame, survivability, high growth rate and high reproduction”.
“We ended up with a breed of sheep that is superior in wool cut and quality in the medium wool range, a superior meat sheep, and a highly fertile animal that is immensly profitable not only for Keri-Keri, but for clients as well”.
“It’s pleasing to see Keri-Keris’ clients’ sheep doing so well in other districts both in NSW and interstate. There are always new and exciting sires coming through the pipeline.”
Growing out our maiden ewes in the 2004 drought.
Peter & Sue retire
On the first of July 2006 Peter & Sue Dowling retired from Keri-Keri. In contrast to his 70 years on the Hay plains Peter is now living in the River Murray region of Moama.
Peter was actually born on Keri-Keri and Sue moved here once they were married.
Peter’s lateral thinking regarding sheep breeding was remarkably ahead of its time and he had a great eye for being able to pick, & cull, ewes on the drafting gate to ensure that the Keri-Keri traits of fertility, survival & reproduction continued before even looking at their wool.
Peter and Sue (& Millie their boxer) can be contacted on (03) 5480 2492.
After a few years living off-property, whilst still operating at Keri-Keri, Andrew and Tarsh moved back onto the property in 2006.
Historic Keri-Keri Homestead
Keri-Keri is located between Hay and Balranald.
Visitors to the district may be interested in visiting the Australian Shearers Hall of Fame at Hay. Their website is http://www.shearoutback.com.au/