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New Zealand Sheep breeds

South Suffolk

The South Suffolk first appeared in New Zealand during the 1930s in response to overseas demand for leaner meat. It is a New Zealand breed developed in Canterbury by a Southdown stud breeder, George Gould, who was also responsible for introducing Suffolks to this country. Gould wanted a specialist breed to meet the requirements of a price schedule for prime lamb cuts that carried penalties for too much fat. The breed incorporates the quick maturity and carcase shape of the Southdown and the high flesh-to-fat ration of the Suffolk.

The South Suffolk became a registered breed in 1958 and is being used increasingly as a terminal sire for fat-lamb production.

The typically Down wool is used for fine apparels and hand-knitting yarns.

Meat breed used as a terminal crossing sire. Short Down wool with some pigmented fibres. High yielding carcase, ideal for further processing.

Throughout New Zealand.

Medium-sized sheep with dark brown face, ears and legs free from wool.


Body weight:
Ewes: 60–75 kg
Rams: 80–100 kg

Wool production:
Fibre diameter 27–33 microns
Staple length 50–75 mm
Fleece weight 2–3 kg

Lamb production:
130–160 per cent


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