Highlander, Commercial Flock

The Karrawarra Highlander Breed Evolution

" There was those that came before us, but we are those that remain… we do not fear change, for if you do what you have always done, you will get what you have always got. "

Karrawarra Pastoral was introduced to Highlander Genetics in 2016 by FocusGenetics, a New Zealand based seedstock breeding business ultimately owned by Landcorp New Zealand.  

The Karrawarra’s Highlander breeding program commenced in earnest embarking on a two-year program utilising 1800 embryos across its commercial ewe base. Embryo selection was undertaken in New Zealand with a team of vets and geneticists determining capture of genetically superior animals and ensuring genetic diversity.  

FocusGenetics foresight to capture genetic diversity was most intuitive given closure of borders between Australia and New Zealand shortly thereafter embryo harvest, at first preventing and now being extremely complicated to import genetics from New Zealand to Australia. 

On the back of the successful embryo program Karrawarra has continued its relationship with Focus Genetics utilising genetic advice and recording services while continuing to develop a solid and trusted team here in Australia further enabling us to breed sheep best suited to Australian conditions and our discerning clients.  

History of the Highlander Breed

Historically and pre-Karrawarra’s involvement with Highlander sheep the breed was developed in the early 90’s by Rissington Breedlines a New Zealand based and family owned seedstock business. 

Rissington Breedline identified the opportunity to breed the ultimate composite sheep aiming to capture traits including moderate adult ewe weight combining stayability and longevity while also targeting reproduction, lamb survival and lamb growth. 

Rissington combined genetics from Romney (1/4), Finn (1/2) and Texel (1/4) breedlines to create what would come to be the Highlander, now a stabilised composite. Rissington’s refinement of the Highlander from conception through the next 20 plus years utilised extensive, measurement, recording in SIL-ACE, monitoring, genetic selection and phenotypic selection cementing the Highlander as one of the most recorded sheep flocks available worldwide. 

Karrawarra continues to record in SIL-ACE and further in answer to customer requirements also records in Lambplan with the added addition of 100% genomic testing within stud. 

In 2010 Rissington Breedlines merged their genetics division with Landcorp Farming Limited owned FocusGenetics. FocusGenetics continued to drive the Highlander breeding programme forward with a team of geneticists utilising the huge bank of raw and recorded data and further genomic testing and data ensuring continuing genetic gain. 

FocusGenetics has exclusive relationships for the growth and sales of Higlander genetics in the UK working with Innovis and in Uruguay working with Frileck SA.  

Karrawarra Provides Highlander Genetics to the Australian Market.

In 2020 Karrawarra signed an exclusive arrangement with FocusGenetics to continue to advance the Highlander breed in the Australian market. Karrawarra is Australia’s only source of Highlander Genetics true to the breeding objective determined by Rissington and evolved by FocusGenetics.  

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