The company's headquarters, and home to the Litchfield family, is located at Hazeldean near Cooma in the Monaro district of south-eastern New South Wales.
Hazeldean Merinos has grown from its establishment in 1865 by James Litchfield, to be one of the largest, most progressive and influential flocks in Australia. It was built on Rambouillet bloodlines with occasional Riverina Peppin infusions, and today, around 10,000 stud ewes are mated.
Hazeldean rams are well acclimatized and adapted to most areas of Australia.
With a total flock size of over 30,000 sheep Hazeldean Merinos have one of the largest individual gene pools in Australia, making intense selection pressure possible in the breeding programme.
Hazeldean has been using measured performance longer than any other stud in Australia - since 1954, when James Francis Litchfield began to weigh fleeces and select animals according to how much wool they cut and the fineness of the fleece.
This is the same information that establishes the price woolgrowers get paid when they sell their wool and is heritable and repeatable.
So for over 60 years selection has been based on measured fleece value gathered from each ram and ewe produced. Hazeldean was at the helm of using ASBV's and still leads the merino industry with regard to performance recording.
Hazeldean Genetic Trend over the last 10 years. Hazeldean has far heavier fleeces than the average, that are also much finer than the average. Click to view data.
Hazeldean Merino blood rams, ewes and wethers have also been independently assessed more than any other stud in Australia, entering Sire Evaluations, along with clients entering ewe and wether trials, benchmarking their flocks against other bloodlines. Hazeldean bloodlines, over many many years consistently perform at the top of these trials. Hazeldean Merinos are accredited free of Brucellosis and monitored negative stage 3 (MN3) for Ovine Johnes disease.
Hazeldean's business also includes commercial flocks and herds as well as the production of cereal grains however it's main interest is the production of superior seedstock.
In both cattle and sheep Hazeldean ranks among the country's largest suppliers and when viewed as a whole, has a major influence on the genetic makeup and progress of Australia's extensive livestock industries.