Introduction

The UltraWhite is a wool shedding, meat producing sheep. Development of the UltraWhite breed started in 2005, when Dawson Bradford Snr saw an opportunity to breed a high performance, fast growing, low maintenance, wool shedding sheep called the “easy care”. As a prime lamb producer of Poll Dorset sheep for over 50 years and as Chairman of WAMMCO, Dawson was ideally placed to recognise the qualities required in a meat producing sheep and set out to breed a sheep capable of performing well across a wide and diverse range of climate and conditions.

So started the process in 2005 with the mating of a selection of Poll Dorset ewes from the stud flock to top White Dorper rams in order to breed a wool shedding composite sheep that was easy-care, hardy and a good do-er. It had to be hardy and yet able to perform at the highest level for growth when conditions were right for peak production.

The high milking ability of the Dorset and the strong maternal instinct of both breeds needed to be preserved and good fecundity along with the ability to breed year round was a non-negotiable trait for the new breed.

Sufficient fat in the ewes for good maternal function and survival in harsher conditions was most necessary. Good muscling, lean meat yield and eating quality were also traits that were to be a prerequisite of the new breed, to meet the needs of not only the producer and processor but also the needs of markets and consumers around the world.

The new breed stabilized very quickly, which is not surprising considering that fundamentally only two breeds were involved, the Dorset and the Dorper. The new breed suiting a wide area of Australia from the wetter areas of Southern Australia to the drier areas of more northern and inland parts.

In 2014 the new breed was named “UltraWhite” the easy-care sheep, one that meets the criteria set out by Dawson Snr in 2005 to meet his needs and the industry’s as well.

The Australian UltraWhite Association Inc. was established in Western Australia in September 2017, and at the Inaugural meeting of UltraWhite breeders in September, 2020 the Association name was changed to UltraWhite Sheep Breeders Association of Australia Inc.