THE STORY OF ELLA MATTA
The Worlds First Registered White Suffolk Stud
Stud established in 1979
7 generations of sheep farming history in SA
Peter Heinrich (Origin of the White Suffolk)
Peter Heinrich (pictured) is a multi-generational farmer at “Ella Matta” north of Bute on the upper Yorke Peninsula in South Australia. He (in 1979) along with the University of NSW, and a few other stud breeders, started experimenting with a white-faced Suffolk. This was later recognised when the Australian White Suffolk Association was established, where Ella Matta was registered as flock number 1, the first registered White Suffolk stud in the world.
Peter: "There was always discount on the black points of the Suffolk, but the same sheep were historically better than the Dorset especially in drier years. So in 1979, I purchased a Poll Dorset ram at the Dorset Fair from the “Kentish Downs” stud of Jim Martin and put him with my Suffolk ewes of Burwood blood.
"After correspondence with Professor Ewan Roberts and Jeff Eppleston of the University of NSW, who had a government grant to develop an improved meat sheep, I made contact with Noel Corliss at the Hay Field Research Station and in August 1983 purchased two rams from their program. One DS 2-034 (50% Dorset) & DS B22002 F2 Dorset 5 Suffolk (75% Suffolk). This gave me a high % Suffolk blood ram to use over my 50% ewes.
Peter Heinrich Cont..
"We have had the pleasure over the years of selling a lot of stud rams privately and through the Foundation Breeders Sale at Moorlands.
The photo in the banner above is at the original White Suffolk Foundation Breeders sale. From left: Allan Piggott, Geoff Gale, Peter Heinrich, Hedley Krieg, Andrew Michael, Ian Turner, Don Ferguson, and Malcolm Piggott.
"My son Andrew, who has in 1999 taken over as studmaster, now uses AI as a means to search new blood lines. At this time he also moved the stud to Kangaroo Island.
"I have never considered myself to be a studmaster but just a keen stockman who was given No. 1 in the White Suffolk book and has had a lot of pleasure and friendship from that Association.
"My hope for the future is that the White Suffolks can retain high % Suffolk blood and keep the easy lambing, clean head characteristics and Suffolk constitution.
The Photo on the left is of Andrew and Peter Heinrich at one of the original showings of the White Suffolk breed at the Royal Adelaide Show.
In 1999 Peter's son Andrew and his wife Tracie took over the White Suffolk stud. This tied in well with their Poll Merino breeding program that they had started for their own use in the early 90's. Both breeds have grown substantially since then and have taken the annual on property sale from around 50 rams to over 200. A key aim in this time has been to maximise performance by using the latest available technologies.
From 2014 Andrew and Tracie's son Jamie has come back on to the family farm, and has progressed into a joint management role. He spent 10 years away at University, travelling and working for Thomas Foods International. Their daughter Georgie is a Sonographer in Adelaide.
We would like to thank everyone who has helped us along this journey. The foundation breeders, members of the White Suffolk Association, Classers (Ralph Speirs, Ian Turner & Bill Walker), service providers (Greg Johnsson, Deb Lehmann, Brecon Breeders, Steve Milne & Mike Shallow), Ted, Graham and Wayne Lehmann, Sheep Genetics Australia, Sheep CRC, Landmark, Elders, and the many others. We wouldn't have achieved what we have without you.
But most of all we would like to thank everyone who has supported us at our annual sale. You have allowed us to reinvest and continuously push our breeding program to new heights. We hope that you are enjoying the resulting benefits.