Mount Ronan is situated 80 kms east of Perth and 20 kms west of York in Western Australia (see map: Mount Ronan location). The farm takes its name from the high point on the property.
A commercial egg farm was operated in conjunction with the sheep enterprise until 2008.
Guy started breeding sheep at a very young age and his first ‘worthwhile’ sheep were unregistered Border Leicesters. He kept full records and was devoted to his flock.
Mount Ronan’s Terminal Breeding program commenced in 1968, when as a 16 year old Guy purchased Shropshire stud ewes from Merv Reynolds of Meckering WA. Merv was dispersing some of his livestock breeds after having won the Governor’s Cup at the Perth Royal Show on several occasions.
Within 12 months Guy had sold these ewes and purchased Suffolk ewes to establish a stud on the family property at Stoneville in the hills to the east of Perth.
In 1975 Guy was able to buy into a property at York with the financial assistance of his parents and the Suffolks were relocated.
In 1979, Mount Ronan offered and sold its first team of 4 Suffolk rams at the Northam Ram Sale. Northam was the biggest ram auction in WA with over 400 rams being offered annually.
The Mount Ronan rams topped the sale. Mount Ronan Suffolk rams topped the Northam Sale on every occasion except one, and in 1990 the average sale price of the 21 rams offered and sold by Mount Ronan was higher than the next highest price achieved by any other individual ram of any breed in the catalogue.
Such was the level of acceptance by industry of Mount Ronan genetics. This was at a time when Poll Dorsets were generally more in demand than Suffolks.
Mount Ronan was the first stud to offer its rams with LAMBPLAN information at the auction, and the rams were then grown out on grass only. Now young lambs receive a trail feed of pellets as required, to ensure that they are in suitable condition for early LAMBPLAN scanning.
At one stage Mount Ronan was home to the largest registered Suffolk flock in Australia.
A White Suffolk breeding program was commenced in 1989 with the purchase of Poll Dorset ewes from Peter Rose of Burekup, WA. A further purchase of 200 Poll Dorset ewes from the dispersal of the Metcalf’s stud at Dowerin in the W.A. wheatbelt combined beautifully with the hardy, functional genetics of the Mount Ronan Suffolks.
The first graded White Suffolk rams were offered and sold at the Northam Ram Sale in 1991 for an Australasian Record Flock Ram Price of $910 (3 times) and the 11 rams offered and sold averaged $777. Average flock ram prices at the time were $200-$250.
The 3 top pick rams from this drop were used to mate the Poll Dorset ewes over the next 2-3 years.
Specially selected Poll Dorset rams were used to mate big numbers of Suffolk ewes to produce an alternate line of graded White Suffolk sheep.
Consequent introduction of White Suffolk genetics from established flocks in the Eastern States improved the style of the sheep, but the greatest advances were made in later years by infusing highest performance Poll Dorset genetics into the hardy, muscular White Suffolk ewes which had descended from the original Suffolk flock at Mount Ronan.
The Central Sire Progeny Testing Programs conducted in WA between 1994 and 1996, demonstrated the commercial worth of Mount Ronan genetics. Mount Ronan rams were the top growth-rate sires in 2 of the 3 trials conducted. These rams were compared with top industry rams from all over Australia for their ability to produce commercial lambs out of Merino ewes.
In 1997, Mount Ronan held its first on-property Spring ram sale because of the need to be able to offer rams individually in a buyer-friendly environment with full ASBV information and pedigree data.
Sales have continued to be exceptionally well supported by lamb producers, and usually the Mount Ronan ram sale is the top averaging White Suffolk on-property flock ram sale in WA, and often in Australia.
In 2015, Mount Ronan held its inaugural Summer ram sale, offering 2015 drop ram lambs. These sales have continued to be very successful and are definitely a permanent fixture in the farm calendar.
Mount Ronan rams are generally hardy and long lived and produce many more lambs with superior performance genes.
Mount Ronan supplies rams to producers in all areas of agricultural Western Australia and to several leading prime lambs producers in the Riverina District of New South Wales.