SRS Directors


Alex Ball

Dr. Alex Ball, Director Rural Analytics

Bachelor Rural Science, Honours Class 1, University of New England. PhD Animal Science, University of New England. Fellow Australian Rural Leadership Foundation. GAICD

Alex has been a key contributor to the agricultural industries, especially in red meat, over the last 25 years. During that period, he has acquired acknowledged skills in RD&A program management, strategy development and implementation, project management, portfolio analysis, industry engagement and consultation, industry representative structures, corporate governance and more recently in natural capital and ecosystem services frameworks and evaluation. Alex has participated in the development and implementation of several national industry and cross-sectoral RD&E strategic plans and RRFP projects as well as their review.  He has extensive experience in sheep genetics being responsible for the development of MERINOSELECT and Sheep Genetics.

Alex is a Cattle Australia Policy Council member and a ALRP Drought Resilience Mentor.

Alex and his wife Melissa own and operate a beef enterprise in Armidale NSW.


Andrew Harding

I operate a grazing operation near Yass with my mother Jane. We have a commercial SRS® Merino flock as well as a beef herd.

After completing a degree in Agricultural Science at Sydney University I spent 20 years working in the dairy and rail industries in Australia and the UK before returning to the family farm with my wife Steph and three kids n 2012. Shortly after I returned to the farm we purchased our first SRS® ram from Glenwood in 2013 and have seen improvements year on year in lamb survival, growth, robustness and wool quality. We ceased mulesing in 2020 and I am very excited about the future of SRS® genetics.


Dominic Hallam

Dominic returned full time to the family farm Springfield in 2018 after an extensive career in the Mining, Civil and Tunnelling industry.

Over the past 20 years he has been actively involved in the development of the Springfield merino flock along the SRS® Genetics guidelines. In 2018 the Cooee Merino SRS® Stud was established after encouragement from the late Jim Watts.

Cooee is now run with the help of his wife Bec and their four children.


Norm Smith

SRS® Genetics Chairman

Norm is a 5th generation woolgrower from Central West NSW where he manages Glenwood with his wife Pip and their five children. They own a SRS® Merino stud and commercial operation including lease and partnership over 2 other farms, they are very passionate about SRS® breeding and Holistic Management.

Norm spent a couple of years Jackerooing and then completed a Farm Management Diploma at Orange Ag College before returning home and working with his father. When taking over the management of the farm the wool industry was going through a very difficult period which saw very low prices for wool and sheep combined with rising costs.

Through a mentoring program in the Wellington district Norm was exposed to Holistic Management and after completing the course in 1999 changed to a philosophy which worked with nature and took away the risk in the business.

Norm worked with the Late Dr Jim Watts from the mid 1990’s and has been a passionate advocate for the breeding system both for farmers and downstream customers ever since, He saw that Jim’s work was a catalyst for accelerated genetic improvement, providing better welfare outcomes and overall enterprise profitability. With Jim’s vision Norm stopped mulesing in 2005 and Glenwood was one of the first individual farms in Australia to be RWS accredited.


Robert Mudford

Robert is a fourth Generation farmer from the Collie district north of Dubbo NSW. He runs with his parents and families the Parkdale SRS® Merino Stud as well as commercial flocks based around Collie and out at Enngonia running over 20,000 merinos across 98,000 acres.

Rob is married to Meg and have three children Lara, Evie and Arthur. They are passionate advocates of the late Dr Jim Watts and ceased mulesing in 2004, they also run angora goats based on the SRS® breeding philosophies.


Shane Axford

Shane Axford hails from Winton Queensland breeding Commercial SRS® Merinos and currently joins approximately 3500 ewes.

“I moved to Winton in 1980 as a kid. Being a part of a family operation with approx. 25,000 sheep, gave a good grounding for doing day work on a wide range of properties. I moved into the shearing sheds as an employee in 1992, then purchased the shearing run in 1998 and continued on contracting until 2007.

Contracting and shearing was an excellent opportunity to really broaden my knowledge of sheep, wool, and management systems. I’ve worked in areas from Stonehenge to Richmond and Blackall to Boulia, as well as S.A and Victoria. During this time, Jodi and I purchased our first place and began running our own merino operation. In the following years, we purchased 6 complete ewe flocks, classed and selectively joined to SRS merino rams, and built our numbers up to 10,000. These stepping stones have put us at Goolma Station Winton, where we currently run a ewe breeding operation, as well as growing irrigated hay.

Over the last few years, my passion to produce a “package merino” has only increased. I can see what we have achieved so far, with the help and guidance of the SRS group and our own knowledge combined. I hope to be able to share this knowledge and information with others, to give them as many opportunities as we’ve had running a flock of SRS merino sheep.”


Stephen Kellock

My name is Stephen Kellock, alongside my wife Peta, we own and run the Kelvale Poll Merinos Stud in Keith SA. We have been involved with Jim Watts and classing with SRS® principles since 1999.We have two children, Jessica and Bradley who are in their late teens.

I have been involved in the sheep industry for all my life, mostly with Merino Sheep. Early in my working life I was a jackaroo at Willurah Sheep Stud and Station in the Riverina for 2 years before returning home to the family farm south of Burra. In 1992 I received the honour of the RAHS Australian Merino Junior Judge Champion. Through expansion we purchased a property at Keith in the SE of SA and Peta and I took up residence in 2005.

I have been an elected member of Merino SA for 8 years and have been involved with the Merino SA School Wether Competition since its inception, convening the competition for the past 6 years. I was also a founding member of the SA Sheep Expo which is now a hugely successful and respected event.

I am highly motivated to educate the next generation to take on a career in the agricultural industry and especially the sheep industry.