Some 1,400 Australian Suffolk sheep have been shipped to China to help and improve the genetics of China’s sheep flock, ABC Australia has reported.

China’s sheep flock stands at around 250m head and the sheep will be used for meat production.

Wellard Group is the export company tasked with exporting the sheep and Sheep Manager at the group, Harold Sealy, told ABC that it has taken a lot of work to prepare the sheep for export.

“It’s very exciting, we’re always glad to see the sheep on the plane it means we’ve done the work.

“It’s been six months of a lot of work by a lot of staff to pull it together. A lot of support from our farming groups, our farmers as well so it’s been fantastic.”

Sealy said that the group taking the sheep in China will distribute them to a group of farmers in the Shangxi province, they’ve all applied for certain numbers and they’ll get between five and 10.

From what I can gather there will be a line of sheep that will stay with the private company for their own breeding and to build their own stud network as well.

“They’re looking for good sheep, they’re tremendous actually, some of the best Suffolks I’ve seen through these yards.”

Speaking to ABC, he said that there’s a huge big sheep flock in China and genetics like these helps improve that, helps improve the meat quality and gives them access to new genetics.

Fruthermore, he said that China is keen to source sheep from Australia for two key reasons.

“Australian livestock is quite competitive around the world and the fact that we’re a very healthy country allows them to select here with confidence.

“Our competitors with numbers just don’t have the ability to do it and wouldn’t have that disease free status that we do.”