Show Notes

In today's episode, we have James Cusack, a fifth-generation farmer and Corriedale breeder hailing from south-west Victoria.

While James grew up on a farm in Western Australia, he spent time completing a diesel mechanic apprenticeship before returning to farming in Victoria. James explains, "I was always told I had to do something else, so becoming a diesel mechanic was a practical skill to have. It's come in handy in various ways, but ultimately, my heart was in farming."

Now located in Skipton, south-west Victoria, James manages his family's farms, including the original Corriedale stud in Australia, flock number one, a lineage established in 1911. In 2012, James inherited the stud and has since dedicated himself to ramping up production and genetic improvement across both wool and meat.

James' dedication to improving his flock led him to join the Performance Corriedale Group. This group of passionate Corriedale breeders collaborates to enhance the breed's performance, particularly in meat quality and growth traits. James elaborates, "We aim to change the traditional look of the breed, improve rearing ability, and boost lamb weaning rates while maintaining the valuable wool characteristics."

To achieve this, the Performance Corriedale Group established a progeny test. This project involves joining 270 commercial ewes to 11 different sires, including Corriedales, Border Leicesters, Dorsets and maternal composites. The goal is to assess eating quality and growth traits in the offspring: "We're looking forward to processing the lambs in the new year and analysing carcass traits such as shear force and intramuscular fat."

James is optimistic about the future of Corriedales and believes that projects like these will help showcase the breed's potential. He emphasises the importance of encouraging other breeders to embrace objective measurement tools and select for desired traits.

To stay updated on the progress of this exciting project or get in touch with James Cusack, visit the Performance Corriedale Breeders' Twitter account or email James at Don't miss their field day on 1 March  2024, where you can see the progeny on display and learn more about their findings first hand.

If you have any questions about anything mentioned on this podcast, or one for our upcoming Q&A, email us at or leave a voice note here:


Head Shepherd is brought to you by neXtgen Agri International Limited, we help livestock farmers get the most out of the genetics they farm with. Get in touch with us if you would like to hear more about how we can help you do what you do best -

Thanks to our sponsors at MSD Animal Health and Allflex, and Heiniger Australia and New Zealand.

These companies are leaders in their respective fields and it is a privilege to have them supporting the Head Shepherd Podcast. Please consider them when making product choices, as they are instrumental in enabling us to bring you this podcast each week.

Check out Heiniger's product range HERE
Check out the MSD range HERE
Check out Allflex products HERE

Comments & Upvotes

Listen On