Phil Clothier receives Australian White Suffolk Service Award

Clothier receives Australian White Suffolk service award

By Catherine Miller, The Stock Journal

A South East White Suffolk stalwart who has always taken a measured approach to stud sheep breeding has been recognised for decades of service to the breed.

Australian White Suffolk Association president Andrew Heinrich said it was a privilege for him to present Woolumbool stud principal Phil Clothier with the distinguished service award at the family's on-property ram sale last week near Lucindale.

"I have always enjoyed conversations with Phil about breeding sheep, he is a deep thinker and has never been afraid to take a different approach to sheep breeding," Mr Heinrich said.

Phil Clothier receives Australian White Suffolk Service Award

Australian White Suffolk Association president Andrew Heinrich presents Phil Clothier, Woolumbool stud, Lucindale, with a distinguished service award.
Picture by Catherine Miller.

Mr Clothier was a trail blazer in performance recording in terminal sires, even involved in a project measuring growth and other traits with the SA Department of Agriculture prior to the advent of the national LAMBPLAN system.

He is also a past president and active committee member of the breed's flock improvement program, now the Superwhites breeding group.

Mr Clothier served for six years on the AWSA federal council between 1998-2004.

In the early 2000s he chaired the R&D committee which conducted an ambitious trial on Mr Heinrich's property on Kangaroo Island.

At the time sires were selected and mated to Ella Matta ewes and then followed the progeny through to the abattoir, measuring fat and muscle in the carcases.

Mr Clothier says it is an honour to receive the service award.

"I honestly wasn't expecting it but it is pleasing to be recognised," he said.

During his days as a student at Urrbrae Agricultural High School, Phil says he was impressed by their Suffolk flock so when the White Suffolks emerged he was keen to add them to the Poll Dorsets his family were already breeding.
The Woolumbool White Suffolk stud was registered as flock number 26 in 1987.

"I have always liked the mothering ability of the White Suffolk ewe and their capacity to have higher lambing percentages, under the same conditions we have found they are always about 10 per cent better," he said.

"The only issue from the get go was they (the White Suffolks) didn't have enough muscle but we have made progress and they now have equal muscle to the Poll Dorsets."

One of the highlights for Phil has been breeding a couple of impact sires widely used in the breed, particularly Woolumbool 173980.

More than 1800 doses of semen in the ram were sold to flocks across the nation.
Mr Clothier says he has also gained great satisfaction in seeing Woolumbool's commercial clients return year after year to buy their genetics.
"I have always said that I wouldn't have been able to breed sheep if I couldn't measure it and put all the data together," he said.

"I never had any interest in breeding animals to fit the show perspective, if you are show orientated I believe you can tend at times to keep animals that are nowhere near as good on performance but look good."

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