SHOWING Suffolks for local stud owners and Urrbrae Agricultural High School has inspired Forreston's Brett Smith to found a stud of his own.
The second year agricultural science student at the University of Adelaide grew up on a small property in the Adelaide Hills where his parents ran cows so his interest in the livestock was evident from a young age.
But, it was starting high school at Urrbrae that "kickstarted" Mr Smith's passion for sheep.
"I was involved with their Suffolk stud and went to a few shows," he said.
"I've also helped show sheep at Mount Pleasant for Belmont Suffolk stud owners Neil and Grace Kroehn.
"I have been showing ever since and have developed a passion for the stud side of the sheep industry."
The enterprising teen owned a small commercial flock of shedding sheep in his early years of high school and by year 11 had decided he wanted to start a stud of his own.
"I originally looked at White Suffolks, but there was just something about black-faced Suffolks that I really liked so I went with them," Mr Smith said.
He founded his stud in 2019 with Belmont ewes and a Telpara ram.
He said the past three years had been a big learning curve in learning what approach will work for him on a small acreage.
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He has recently decreased his flock number to focus on the quality of his sheep, rather than the quantity.
"When I started I was focused on the number of lambs I was putting out, but now I'm more focused on the quality of lambs," Mr Smith said.
"I've found having less sheep is better if they are of a higher quality, rather than having more sheep at a lower quality."
While the flock's growth will be restricted by the parcel of land Brett has access to, he is hopeful of leasing more land in future to continue the upward trajectory.
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He has recently invested in an Allendale ram and entered in his first show, Mount Barker, earlier this year - winning first place in the Suffolk ram judging.
Mr Smith's immediate plans include focusing on feeding earlier, getting lambs to mature earlier and culling from his flock accordingly.
"I'd like to focus on feeding and possibly investing in some lick feeders to be able to feed higher volumes of grain to the rams," he said.
"I also want lambs to be maturing earlier and getting to market weight earlier."
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