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Roche family sells Southcote Shorthorn legacy

One of Australia’s finest Shorthorn cattle herds, its valuable bloodlines, and intellectual property have been sold.

The family of the late John Roche has announced the sale of Fleurieu Peninsula-based Southcote Shorthorns to Sam and Jodie Martin, the couple behind the increasingly respected and influential Kawana Lea Shorthorn Stud in northern New South Wales.

Mr Roche’s daughters, Fiona Roche and Deborah Hamilton, say they were delighted to be able to pass the baton to the Martins.

“In developing their own herd, the Martins studied the outstanding genetics of the Southcote Shorthorns, and when Sam sought to buy a sire from Southcote, discussions resulted in their decision to take on the advancement of the stud,” Ms Roche said.

“While disappointed that we are not able to continue development of the stud at the level our father achieved, we are delighted with the opportunity that Sam and Jodie present to continue the blood lines and stud name for the Shorthorn breed.”

The majority of Southcote’s stud animals will be transferred to Kawana Lea, with the remainder to be sold privately. The Roche family will retain ownership of its property assets.

The Martins say the agreement to carry forward the Southcote Shorthorn herd will allow them to bring forward their long-held dream of building a large-scale Shorthorn stud enterprise.

“We are absolutely committed to taking carriage of John Roche’s legacy with a pure focus on breeding good quality functional cattle, with a specific focus on MSA (Meat Standard Australia) compliance, and the ability to finish on pasture whilst always maintaining good shorthorn type,” the Martins said.

“We are anticipating the sale of 30 to 40 bulls annually all year round, on request.”

Mr Roche—a very successful urban developer and former Lord Mayor of Adelaide—was a passionate advocate for the breed and devoted much of his valuable spare time building his herd and nurturing the industry.

He established the herd 45 years ago, and from 1972, until he was slowed by ill health, was a familiar face at the Naracoorte and Dubbo sales. He exhibited at the Adelaide Royal Show each year, never missed the cattle exhibits at the Sydney Royal Easter Show, saw his animals win many grand championships, and was himself a judge of Shorthorn cattle at a number of shows.

Mr Roche was very active in the industry. He was president of the Australian Shorthorn Society and world president of the Shorthorn Association in 2004 and 2005.

Highlights of his Shorthorn career included reaping multiple awards at the shows and achieving high prices at the sales. This included achieving a sale price of $20,000 at Dubbo in 2004 for Southcote Expert SC X86.

“But more important to him was the feedback he received from his clients as to the workability and success of the bulls and cows that he sold within the industry,’ Ms Roche said.

Feature Image: John Roche.