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Sheep and breeders flock to Amberley

Posted by The Roving Shepherd On November - 4 - 2020

There were large numbers of sheep at the Amberley Domain on Saturday.

More than 240 sheep were entered, including lambs and flock sheep, and Amberley A&P Show sheep section convener Jimmy Gardiner said it was the biggest sheep show in Amberley for at least 10 years.

“We haven’t had these numbers for a good number of years. We’ve got more 50 Corriedales, 40 Dorset Downs and good numbers in all the breeds, which is a credit to all the breeders for coming to support our little show.”

Sheep were transported from as far south as Oamaru and as far north as Blenheim.
The Gardiner family has been supporting the local Amberley show for generations, with Mr Gardiner farming at Broomfield, near Amberley, running 1800 commercial ewes and 300 Suffolk and South Suffolk stud ewes and 80 beef cows.

Waipara farmers Keith and Ruth Berry won all breeds champion ewe hogget with a young Texel ewe.

“She’s a really well-balanced sheep, good colouring, good on her feet and legs and she’s a good all-round, clean ewe hogget,” Mr Berry said.

The couple has been breeding Texels since the 1990s and were regular supporters of the Amberley show, with Mrs Berry stewarding for the pet lamb classes.

Phil Williams, of Amberley, congratulates Christina Jordan, of Blenheim, on winning the all breeds commercial ram hogget competition, presenting a trophy donated by Mr Williams’ parents.

Phil Williams, of Amberley, congratulates Christina Jordan, of Blenheim, on winning the all breeds commercial ram hogget competition, presenting a trophy donated by Mr Williams’ parents.

Blenheim farmer Christina Jordan is a regular winner at the New Zealand Agricultural Show with her Southdown sheep, but she has never won a trophy as big as the one she won for the all breeds commercial ram hogget competition on her first time showing at Amberley.

The trophy was presented by Amberley farmer and fellow Southdown breeder Phil Williams, whose parents, Bryan and Trish Williams, of Blenheim, donated the trophy.

The Willowhaugh Southdown Stud won the all breeds elite ram hogget competition.

Normally Ms Jordan would be preparing for her local Marlborough A&P Show this weekend and the Christchurch show the following week, but both have been cancelled.

“Without the Christchurch show we will move on to ram sales. Normally our life evolves around the Christchurch show for a week, so it will be a bit different this year,” Ms Jordan said.

“But it’s good to fly the Southdown flag.”

The Willowhaugh Southdown sheep will be back in Canterbury later this month, with three ram hoggets entered in the Canterbury A&P Association elite ram fair on November 27.

Corriedale sheep was the feature breed at the show with a special ribbon for the champion Corriedale ram hogget entered in the show going to West Melton farmer Robin Wilson.

Meanwhile, the top sheep from New Zealand Corriedale Council’s annual production ram and ewe hogget competitions, normally displayed at the New Zealand Agricultural Show, were on display at Amberley.

North Canterbury farmer Mark “Chief” Sidey, who is council president, won the production ram hogget class, while Southbridge farmer Gordon Gilbert came out on top in the ewe hogget class.

Flying start for stud’s new ram

Posted by The Roving Shepherd On August - 24 - 2020

By Sally Rae

Jess (18), Jack (17), Blair and Sally (holding Stella, who is nearly 3) Robertson, at home at the Merrydowns stud in West Otago.

Jess (18), Jack (17), Blair and Sally (holding Stella, who is nearly 3) Robertson, at home at the Merrydowns stud in West Otago.

Back in January, some unusual cargo arrived on the tarmac at Dunedin Airport.

It was a Southdown ram, Kirkdale 36-18, which was flown on a passenger flight from Auckland, having previously made the trip over the Tasman from the Kirkdale stud in Tasmania.

The ram was bought by West Otago stud breeders Blair and Sally Robertson, of the Merrydowns stud, at Waikoikoi, who have the world’s largest Southdown stud.

Mr Robertson judged at a show in Geelong two years ago and was greatly impressed by the Kirkdale entries — Australia’s second-oldest Southdown stud, which was established in 1884 and is now run by fifth-generation Andrew Hogarth.

The team — from lambs to rams and ewes — was “awesome” and, while there, Mr Robertson offered to buy two of the rams, but the deal did not work out.

A Southdown ram, imported from Australia by Blair and Sally Robertson, arrives on the tarmac at Dunedin Airport in January.

A Southdown ram, imported from Australia by Blair and Sally Robertson, arrives on the tarmac at Dunedin Airport in January.

He told Mr Hogarth to keep them in mind for next year and, when he rang him in September last year, Mr Hogarth sent him some videos, photographs and pedigrees, and he selected three rams.

Of those three, Mr Hogarth was keeping two for himself and offering the third at his on-farm sale. So Mr Robertson asked if he could buy 36 — one of his keeper rams — which he felt was the pick of them.

Initially reluctant, Mr Hogarth asked for a week to think about it before agreeing to sell the ram and Mr Robertson told him to put him “on the next plane from Melbourne”.

Kirkdale was not a big stud but Mr Hogarth was a “real stockman” who “thinks along the same lines as us”, Mr Robertson, a fourth-generation stud breeder, said.

The ram was the best he had seen since he paid $14,000 for a ram from Brent Macaulay’s Maclaka stud in 2014. It was sired by an Australian ram he liked, Mr Robertson said.

His latest acquisition had “a decent set of feet and legs to start with”, along with the basic commercial traits — good hindquarter, muscling, depth and spring of rib.

Despite not seeing the ram in the flesh until he arrived at the airport, Mr Robertson said he had seen enough from the videos and also from Mr Hogarth’s other sheep.

“I’m really visual — I see lots of things other people don’t see.”

Kirkdale 36-18.

Kirkdale 36-18.

It was first sheep to be flown into Dunedin for about 20 years, and it was a “bloody comical” scene when the crate was being unloaded.

 

Travelling had no effect on the ram.

“You wouldn’t have known he had been anywhere. He’s that sort of sheep — just a grunter.”

He put the ram out with 185 ewes and he marked them all and came out of the ewes “as good as he went in”.

He believed the ram was going to be good for the sheep industry, particularly Southdowns, giving a straight outcross with a pedigree that was all Australian blood.

With the Maclaka sire, the Merrydowns stud — which has more than 700 ewes — had Australian blood, so it was “like with like” and not just a random selection.

He was a very similar sheep to the Merrydowns sheep and that was the key to try to find something like that.

It was not often in a lifetime you saw a ram that could make a significant difference and, if you did, then you should buy it, he said.

He was looking forward to seeing how he bred and it was likely the stud would retain five or six sons.

The benefits of using Southdowns included early maturing and the early mean kill; all their commercial lambs were killed at 20kg before lockdown, meaning there was room either to feed the ewes more or buy cattle or store lambs.

But lockdown was a major problem for a lot of farmers who still had lambs on and could not get them killed, Mr Robertson said.

The early mean kill date was critical for large commercial operations to get as many lambs as possible off the ewe as soon as possible.

Southdowns were ideal for hogget mating — “if you go to the trouble of putting your hoggets in lamb, you might as well get a decent lamb” — while the ewes were also very efficient over the winter.

He and his wife — who also have a Romney stud with about 1000 ewes, plus commercial ewes — were passionate about the sheep industry and the breeding industry, he said.

For them, it had to be “a package” — “there’s got to be figures but there’s also got to be a sheep. You can’t have one without the other,” Mr Robertson said.

A lot of modern sheep breeds had never been tried and tested; Southdowns had been culled for generations for those commercial traits of muscling and early maturing, the same as the Romneys which had been culled for centuries for their traits, he said.

In the 1950s, there were about 1200 stud Southdown flocks in New Zealand but they went out of fashion later on; there were now about 63 flocks and they were growing in popularity. Australia had also seen a resurgence in interest.

He believed there was a better type of Southdown in Australia, one that was more traditional, with more spring of rib and sounder, Mr Robertson said.

The family — which includes daughters Jess (18) and Stella (nearly 3) and son Jack (17) — were also “bloody passionate” about wool and took pride in producing quality fibre. Their Romney ewes shore about 7.5kg.

But the state of the wool industry was a “bloody disaster” and he implored consumers to stick to natural fibres such as wool, silk and cotton, rather than using synthetic products.

There were generations of the urban population who knew nothing about wool and were not aware of the benefits of it; they needed to be educated about those benefits and synthetic products taken off the shelf. If people were genuinely interested in the environment, then they should be demanding natural fibres, Mr Robertson said.

 

Memory of loyal supporter honoured at show

Posted by The Roving Shepherd On April - 2 - 2020

North Otago A&P Association stalwart Dave McClea was remembered during a special event at this year’s show.

The 157th North Otago show included a Southdown feature show in memory of Mr McClea who died in May last year.

He and his wife Pam had run their Charleston Southdown stud at their sheep and cropping farm at Kakanui.

When he retired from farming in 2002, Mr McClea’s dispersal sale at the showgrounds attracted buyers from across New Zealand. Three of the ewes equalled the record Southdown price of $1800.

Mr McClea’s service to the association, which began in 1980, was acknowledged with life membership in 2007.

While helping with the trade space, the plough he helped design for burying electric cables for powered sites was dubbed the ‘‘Davy Dig’’.

Hook breeder Chris Medlicott was delighted to win the David Simpson Cup with his Southdown ewe lamb, the breed featured in memory of the late Dave McClea.

Hook breeder Chris Medlicott was delighted to win the David Simpson Cup with his Southdown ewe lamb, the breed featured in memory of the late Dave McClea.

Hook (South Canterbury) Southdown breeder Chris Medlicott, who won the David Simpson Cup with his ewe lamb, said it was ‘‘extra special’’ because of the connection with Mr McClea.

‘‘He was a good guy.’’

The two had bought rams from each other over the years, Mr Medlicott said.

He believed the standard of sheep at the show was better than he had seen in Oamaru for a while.

‘‘Everything’s pretty good with the sheep industry at the moment.’’

Retired breeder and butcher Butch Gordon, who presented the Wool Cup to Five Forks’ Jeff Thompson for his Border Leicester ram, said it was a great example of the breed.

And Maheno Suffolk breeder Kerry Dwyer, who won the Meat Cup, was ‘‘doing a great job to keep the meat breed going’’.

Young people should show their livestock as a learning process, looking at other people’s breeds to compare what they were doing and noting what they needed to do to reach those standards, Mr Gordon said.

The supreme sheep award was presented by South Canterbury judge John Macaulay to Mr Dwyer for his Suffolk ewe.

‘‘There are some very good sheep here — great examples of the respective breeds. They’re a credit to you guys who have stuck at it.

‘‘We’ve got encourage young breeders … us old buggers have got to go out of our way to encourage these young buggers on board.’’

New Southdown Australia Website

Posted by Christina On March - 4 - 2020

Southdown Australia

The new Southdown Australia website has been launched and includes contact details, breed standards and more information.

You can check it out for yourself here https://www.southdownaustralia.com.au/

Southdown Named Supreme Sheep of Gore Show

Posted by The Roving Shepherd On February - 4 - 2020

A large crowd gathered to watch the sheep judging which comprised many breeds from the traditional Romneys, Perendales, Southdowns and Suffolks through to Dorpers and Merinos.

The Gore sheep show has become so popular that it was second only to the New Zealand A&P Show in Canterbury.

A Southdown ram, owned jointly by Rob Hall, Graham Calder and Andrew Christey, was named the supreme sheep of the show with Blair Robertson’s Romney ram coming in a very close second.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand chairman Andrew Morrison praised breeders for the quality line up of sheep at the show.

“It’s a great demonstration of sheep and why our industry is so strong.

“The past decade has been the most profitable in sheep farming in 60 years and that’s off the back of some great genetics,” Morrison said.

Morrison assured sheep farmers that wool would eventually make a comeback.

Brothers and their stock in limelight at Winton A&P Show

Posted by The Roving Shepherd On January - 22 - 2020
Alister Hall, left, and his brother Rob had a day to remember at the Winton A&P Show.

Alister Hall, left, and his brother Rob had a day to remember at the Winton A&P Show.

Alister Hall, his brother Rob and daughter Teegan had a special family moment at the Winton A&P Show on Saturday.

For the first time, the brothers each had a supreme winner at the same show. Alister’s Friesian cow won the Supreme Dairy Animal Award and Rob’s Southdown ram was judged Supreme Sheep. The day got better for Alister when the Friesian was named the show’s Supreme Exhibit.

Teegan added to the occasion by receiving a $1000 first year agricultural scholarship from the show organisation.

 

[Read full article here]

‘Big and meaty’ rams in lineup at Turiroa

Posted by The Roving Shepherd On December - 14 - 2019
SECOND ON-FARM: Tracey and Andrew Powdrell (pictured) with some of the Turiroa Tiger rams that will be up for auction on their on-farm sale on December 12. The couple are rapt with the quality of their up to 115 lineup, across four varieties.

SECOND ON-FARM: Tracey and Andrew Powdrell (pictured) with some of the Turiroa Tiger rams that will be up for auction on their on-farm sale on December 12. The couple are rapt with the quality of their up to 115 lineup, across four varieties.

Turiroa Stud near Wairoa will host their second on-farm terminal ram sale on December 12. They will have up to 115 big, meaty Southdowns, Tigers, Suftex and Belsuftex rams for sale by auction.

This year, Andrew and Tracey Powdrell have the first of their Beltex cross progeny available for sale.

Beltex are renowned for a high bone to meat ratio and increased yielding percentages,” Andrew said.

They are moderate framed meat machines with a huge loin and back end.”

Turiroa Belsuftex Rams comprise 25 percent Beltex, 75 percent Suftex.

“We were looking for something to thicken up the Suftex and get them maturing earlier,” Andrew said.

The cross has worked very well, with the added advantage of a black face.

He said the Beltex cross genetics had exceeded their expectations.

They are born small and hardy and hit the ground running. The muscling doesn’t develop until the lambs are a few weeks old.  “We have no lambing trouble with them whatsoever. “Even the Belsuftex ewe lambs that lambed as hoggets were fine,” Andrew said. “The feet have been great too with no issues. We see these Belsuftex rams as leaving early maturing progeny off the hills at 15-17 kg carcase weight.

We will continue to blend the Beltex genetics into our Suftex to thicken them up and we can’t wait to see how the progeny perform out on the farms in different environments.

Turiroa will also have Suftex, Southdown and Tigers, a Southdown, South Suffolk cross.

The Tigers perform well because they have the best of the Southdown characteristics of a deep, meaty body with the advantage of the brown face for easy identification among the progeny. They have lots of Hybrid Vigour and fertility with many clients reporting higher scanning percentages in their early mob than their m/a mob which is pleasing to see the fertility come through.

The Powdrells have been mating their stud ewe hoggets for 20 years and built up a really good fertility in the flock.

“We are looking forward to catching up with old and hopefully some new clients on December 12.

“We are really pleased with the strong team of rams we have coming forward to sale, with our key criteria of early maturing and good feet really evident in the rams.”

The sale starts at 11am on sale day.

Ram sales season off to good start

Posted by The Roving Shepherd On December - 12 - 2019
Visitors from North Otago (from left) Martin Parsons and Ross Nimmo look at Romney and Southdown rams on sale at the Merrydowns stud.

Visitors from North Otago (from left) Martin Parsons and Ross Nimmo look at Romney and Southdown rams on sale at the Merrydowns stud.

Although it is only a couple of weeks into the Otago and Southland ram sales season, early indicators are the numbers are looking good for buyers and sellers.

Blair and Sally Robertson, of Merrydowns Romney and Southdown Stud, and the Otago Southland Coopworth sale in Gore were some of the first off the auction block last week.

PGG Wrightsons livestock genetics representative Callum McDonald said the ram sales season had just started.

‘‘However, indicators are showing it will be strong,’’ Mr McDonald said.

‘‘The rams are good quality, with good performance and are well sought after.

‘‘Merrydowns’ average was $1585 for Romney rams and $1167 for Southdown rams.’’

Blair Robertson

Fourth-generation stud sheep breeder Blair Robertson, from the Merrydowns stud at Waikoikoi, enjoyed a strong on-farm sale in West Otago last week for a catalogue of 229 Romney and Southdown rams.

The top priced Coopworth ram at the Gore sale last week was sold by George and Fraser Fletcher for $2300 and the average price was $1425.

‘‘They are good rams that ticked the boxes and people have the confidence to pay the money.’’

Carrfields livestock agent Roger Keach said while it was early in the ram sale season for Southland and Otago, a record was set for a Dorset Down ram in Cheviot last week.

‘‘It was offered by Colin Smith, of Bankhead Stud, Rangiora, and bought by Ian Stevenson, of The Gums Partnership, of Cheviot, for $17,500,’’ Mr Keach said.

He said the record price for selling a ram was $41,000, set more than 25 years ago.

A top price of $8500 was achieved at the Merrydowns Romney and Southdown ram sale last week.

Jack Robertson (left), of Merrydowns stud, chats with Trevor McCall, of Charlton.

Jack Robertson (left), of Merrydowns stud, chats with Trevor McCall, of Charlton.

Mr Robertson was pleased with the prices at the 11th on-farm sale at Waikoikoi last Tuesday.

‘‘It was a successful sale.

‘‘The average prices was $1425 overall, and the top ram, a Romney, was $8500, which went to Dean and Fiona Addenbrooke, of Ruakiwi, Tuatapere,’’ he said.

‘‘He was a very good quality ram, well balanced, with beautiful wool and good performance data.’’

The price received compared favourably with last year’s top selling ram, a Southdown, which sold for $7000.

There were 70-80 buyers registered, which was on par with previous years, and 85 Southdown rams and 144 Romney rams offered.

The Gore Ram Fair will be held at the Gore showgrounds on January 21 and 22.

PGG Wrightson upper South Island genetics rep Simon Eddington

“Good rams”‘ remain unsold after last Friday’s Canterbury A&P Association elite ram and ewe sale.

PGG Wrightson upper South Island genetics rep Simon Eddington said while the sheep industry had been enjoying a resurgence, quality rams were proving hard to sell.

“Everybody’s positive at the moment, with the lift in lamb prices, but it just doesn’t translate into sales of rams” Eddington said.

“It will take a couple of years before we start to see a lift in ewe numbers and more demand for rams”.

More than 200 rams went under the hammer at Canterbury Agricultural Park on Friday, down slightly on last year, and about one-third remained unsold.

The day’s top price of $12,500 went to a Suffolk ram from Collie Hills Partnership, of South Canterbury, while Chris Medlicott, of Clifton Downs Stud, of Hook, near Waimate, received $11,000 for a Southdown ram.

A Romney ram from Irvine Farms, at Brightwater, near Nelson, received $5800.

“It was hard going. Really good rams sold well, as they always do” Eddington said.

“But there were some good rams which didn’t get a bid, which is disappointing because the farmers put a lot of work into preparing them and then end up taking their rams home”.

He said on-farm ram sales were having an impact, but the biggest factor was the relatively low number of ewes around compared with an abundance of stud rams.

“Buyers are very selective in what they’re buying and they can afford to be because there’s still lots of rams coming forward.

“Farmers are having a good season, but you don’t just get one or two seasons out of a ram, you usually get four to five years”.

Canterbury A&P Show Results 2019

Posted by Christina On November - 25 - 2019

Southdown

3740 Ram, over 18 months, shorn.
1st Place Stuart W Brannigan
2nd Place A C & L K Christey
3rd Place I M & C A Jordan

3742 Ram, under 18 months, shorn – winner receives the CENTRAL
1st Place P G, F C Williams 
2nd Place Neville J Moorhead 
3rd Place I M & C A Jordan
Commended I M & C A Jordan
Highly Commended I M & C A Jordan
Very Highly Commended Stuart W Brannigan 

3744 Boehringer Ingelheim Quality Meat Yield Class, two Rams,
1st Place I M & C A Jordan 
2nd Place Stuart W Brannigan 
3rd Place A C & L K Christey 
4th Place P G, F C Williams 
5th Place Stuart W Brannigan 
6th Place Neville J Moorhead 

3748 Champion Southdown Ram
Awarded to: Stuart W Brannigan 

3749 JOHN DEANS SOUTHDOWN SHEEP TERRINE.
Awarded to: Stuart W Brannigan 

3750 Reserve Champion Southdown Ram
Awarded to: A C & L K Christey

3756 Ewe, over 30 months, shorn, and her suckling lamb(s).
1st Place I M & C A Jordan
2nd Place I M & C A Jordan
Awarded to: I M & C A Jordan

3758 Ewe, 18 to 30 months, shorn and her suckling lamb(s).
1st Place I M & C A Jordan
2nd Place P G, F C Williams
3rd Place I M & C A Jordan

3760 Essential Nutrition Ewe Hogget under 18mth with or without lamb/s at foot -shorn on or after 1st September 2019.
1st Place A D Gillespie 
2nd Place A D Gillespie 
3rd Place J & A Burrows 
Commended I M & C A Jordan
Highly Commended Mr Sam E Hughes
Very Highly Commended P G, F C Williams 

3761 Allflex NZ Ltd Pair of Ewes, under 18 months, shorn.
1st Place A D Gillespie A D Gillespie
2nd Place P G, F C Williams PG, FC Williams
3rd Place A C & L K Christey A C & L K Christey

3764 Champion Southdown Ewe. Winner receives the Perpetual Trophy – JARMAN CUP.
Awarded to: I M & C A Jordan I M & C A Jordan

3765 Reserve Champion Southdown Ewe
Awarded to: A D Gillespie A D Gillespie

3766 Supreme Champion Southdown
Awarded to: I M & C A Jordan I M & C A Jordan

3770 Most Points Southdown Section – winner receives the JAMES DEANS CHALLENGE
Awarded to: I M & C A Jordan I M & C A Jordan

3771 Allflex Best Carcase Southdown. Allflex kindly donate a $50 voucher.
Awarded to: I M & C A Jordan I M & C A Jordan