Cloven Hills leads the Australian maternal sires in the Sheep Genetics database, consistently holding around 20% of the top 150 rams, including at least 5 out of the top 10.
Owned and managed by second and third generation farmers – Kate and Chris Dorahy and family, Cloven Hills is dedicated to helping farmers develop simple, sustainable and profitable farms for future generations.
Built on strong foundations, Cloven Hills has specialised in maternal genetics since 1977. The property’s founder, John Porter (Kate’s father), was one of the first Coopworth breeders to source New Zealand rams in 1978.
Kate and Chris have both enjoyed successful careers in agribusiness, environmental policy and agricultural research, and while farming would be an opportunity they would realise, as Kate’s aunt always says, “there’s sheep in the blood”.
Sheep farming has been in Kate’s family for generations, dating back to her great-great-grandfather, Thomas Porter, who bred Dorset in Dorset England. Thomas left England in 1850s as young man and, with a partner, started Merino Stud, Koonoona, near Burra – the first merino stud in South Australia’s mid north. Kate’s ancestors also farmed in other areas of Australia, including northwest WA in the 1860s. Additionally, Chris’ family have farmed in NSW since the early 1900s.
Cloven Hills is situated at the start of the Great Dividing Range in Western Victoria on rolling hills. Kate and Chris purchased Cloven Hills 15 years ago, and farm operations have grown from 1,200 to almost 5,600 acres, including an ex-blue gum property which is in the final stages of developing into a commercial prime lamb enterprise (Rangeview). Together the two farms will join over 9000 ewes in 2023.
Cloven Hills runs single sire records for over 4,000 stud ewes every year, however 70% of all ewes are performance-recorded with full pedigree. Continually measuring and scoring physical and structural traits on all these ewes and rams builds a robust picture of performance and type.
Through years of research and experience, this husband-and-wife team have developed a precise and effective sheep breeding strategy, which today produces the industry’s best livestock – and is the most successful stand-alone stud on the Australian maternal sires database.
Living and working on the farm with their three children, Kate and Chris are passionate about supporting Aussie farmers and the local community.
As commercial and stud breeders, they understand the challenges that regularly arise on a farm. It’s why their breeding programs are specifically tailored to helping farmers better manage their livestock and grow their business in today’s market. All farms have their own specific requirements that suit their production and business environment. Providing data on a whole suit of traits enables farmers to select what they need.
Together, Kate and Chris bring a wealth of experience in science and agriculture, which is evident in every aspect of their breeding programs. Combining the latest technology with thorough data collection and analysis, the pair are very specific in their selection process. This high level of detail has seen genetic gains and physical improvements across the flock year on year, resulting in hardy livestock with a balance of premium maternal traits.
Over the past 15 years, the Dorahys have transitioned Cloven Hills to a composite maternal flock from a Coopworth base comprised of the ultimate characteristics for greater prime lamb production. The pair continue to build on the quality of Cloven Hills livestock by refining the breeding strategies and investing in programs that introduce the top Australian and New Zealand lamb genetics to their stud and commercial flocks – ensuring they can consistently supply farmers with the highest quality produce, as well as provide them with valuable information and guidance every step of the way.
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