The history of Australian Prime Dorper Lamb
Dorpers were introduced into Australia in 1996 from South Africa. They were originally bred for the arid regions of South Africa and originate from the cross breeding of Blackhead Persian ewes with a Dorset Horn ram. Later some Van Rooy genetics were introduced to white variants to breed the White Dorper.
Since they arrived in Australia, Dorper’s have thrived in our environment, seing rapid uptake of the breed in the lamb industry. The Dorpers quick growth rate and excellent muscularity of the breed combined with its maternal attributes and management ease has contributed to the breed being one of the fastest growing sheep breeds in Australia.
In 2014, the Dorper Sheep Society with over 700 members at the time, developed the Prime Dorper Lamb brand underpinned by Meat and Livestock Australia. The former DSSA president, David Curtis, at the time shared, that “it’s the logical next step for Dorpers which, in less than 20 years, have established in Australia a growing reputation as an easy-care, adaptable, fertile and hardy sheep breed.”
The International Dorper breed standard of excellence ensured stud animals were classed for confirmation and growth. When the brand begun, it was consistently winning carcass competitions including the Warwick Hood and Hook competition and the Brisbane Ekka in Queensland and this hasn’t changed since with carcass quality and yield contributing the success.
Alongisde those qualities, Mr Curtis said, “the fact the taste and eating quality of the lamb, along with the flavour of intramuscular fat and a large eye muscle, has consumers seeking out the product and the platform for a very successful prime lamb brand is clearly there.”
Four years later and Prime Dorper Lamb is one of Australia’s boutique lamb varieties that can be found branded at local markets. The Prime Dorper Lamb producers must meet a strict set of requirements around the way the animal is raised, maintained and fed throughout its life and it then must be processed by a Dorper Sheep Society of Australia accredited processor.
To take this wonderful product national, the Prime Dorper Lamb (PDL) Marketplace has been developed and is designed to give farmers better returns for their product by providing a transaction platform where both commercial and private customers can purchase half carcass packs directly from the farmer. The platform will also provide information on the farms, the stories of the farmers and the processors involved in ensuring the product meets the standards and will allow customers to rate the products and give feedback, to ensure the product meets consumer expectations.
The PDL Marketplace will be launching officially very soon, so to sign up for news and updates and make sure you receive the latest information, click here.