Polwarth is a breed of sheep that was developed in Victoria (Australia) during 1880. They were of one-quarter Lincoln and three-quarters Merino bloodlines. They are large, predominantly polled sheep with long, soft, quite fine wool and produce good meat carcases. They were developed in an attempt to extend the grazing territory of sheep because the Merino was found lacking in hardiness in this respect. A dual-purpose (meat and wool) breed with a major emphasis on wool production.
Mature ewes weigh 50 to 60 kg (110 to 130 lb) and mature rams weigh 66 to 80 kg (146 to 176 lb). Ewes are excellent prime lamb mothers producing lambs that have good lean carcases. The high yielding fleeces weigh an average six to seven kilograms, with a fibre diameter of 23 to 25 microns (58–60s).
The Polwarth Sheepbreeders' Association of Australia was formed in 1918 and the studbook closed in 1948.
Polwarths are now mostly found in the higher rainfall regions of south-eastern Australia that have improved pastures. Polwarths have been exported into many countries, including South America where they are known as Ideals.
- "Polwarth". Breeds of Livestock. Oklahoma State University, Dept. of Animal Science. Retrieved 2009-04-28.
- "Polwarth: Origin and History, Bred from the Past for the Future". Sheep Breeds. New Zealand Sheep Breeders Association. Retrieved 2014-02-18.
- Preparation of Australian Wool Clips, Code of Practice 2010-2012, Australian Wool Exchange (AWEX), 2010
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- Stephens, M (et al.), Handbook of Australian Livestock, Australian Meat & Livestock Export Corporation, 2000 (4th ed.), ISBN 1-74036-216-0
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