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Southdown NZ Newsletter 120

Posted by Christina On July - 12 - 2017


The year rolls on yet again and for some lambing not too many weeks off. As for the weather we won’t go down that track, just hope Spring is early, dry and warm. Store lamb prices have been ever going up so perhaps this coming season the farmers that put lambs on the ground will get well paid all season. Not sure unless you have good contracts who really makes money from the gate to the plate, but I am sure the supermarkets don’t do too badly.
Been an interesting Rugby season so far and hope the ones of you who have been to any of the Lions games have enjoyed them and that includes the Tests.
Not sure how many of you have set the alarm each sailing day – I have – and what a great team and crew have been on Emirates Team New Zealand. We see Peter Burling and a quiet unassuming man that he is. They have all just got on with their jobs without all the hype of the other boats and proved the great boat designers New Zealand has and so far in advance of any one else.
Southdown Tour 2018.
Yes, it is a long way out and no dates have been discussed but it is going to be hosted within the Wairarapa and Manawatu areas. If any Members within the areas are willing to help with the itinerary suggestions and also help host it please contact Jill Baird or Janet Gray.
AGM 2017.
Thank you to all whom attended the AGM and that includes wives and partners. Council realised there would be only a small number attending due to not having an NZ Tour. The Tasmanian Tour sounded it was a success, thanks to the organisers and all whom went on it.
Council 2017/2018.
The Council continues on the same as last year with Todd as President, Donald, Vice-President, John, Treasurer, and Councillors, Stephen, Jill, Stuart, Janet, Christina, Chris, and Charles. Brent is still a co-opted Councillor and our Honorary Life Members are Puck Hughes, John Macaulay, Bill Medlicott and David Wyllie.
Thank you all for your input and time you willing give for the Society.
Christina is still the lady in charge of running it and continues to ask for items of news, photos, (have the Tasmanian ones became available?) The web site is looked at by many so it is our face to the world, therefore we need to keep it up to date. Your assistance is very much appreciated.
Stuart and Jill are still in charge of this area. Council decided last year to pay a reporter at various times of the year and have articles written and placed in the farming papers. This was because they felt the same Breeders were doing the advertising to get feature stories in a publication and they were promoting the whole breed. This way has not been all that successful but the Promotion Committee is now working with a different reporter in the hope to get articles in papers. Should any Members have any contacts with reporters you may contact Stuart or Jill to give some help.
New Members.
At the last Council meeting the following new member nominations were accepted:
S.E.Hughes, 35 Rattletrack Road, No.4 R.D., Christchurch. 7674.
Kevin McFadden, 66 Mile Road, No.2 R.D., Bombay, 2675.
Also Mrs.C.A.Cameron has taken over the flock of G.E.Johansen who is her Father. G.W.Hunt has started a flock so moves from Member without a Flock to a member with a flock.
To you all, welcome and we hope you become involved with any Southdown activities with in your area and also perhaps Shows and Sale as well as coming to the Southdown AGM tours.
There are also three more Flocks that are to join the Society with new Flocks but the final paper work is still to be completed.
Canterbury A. & P.Show 2017.
This year the Southdown trophies will be presented at the Show and this will be indicated in the schedule that will become available soon.

Ewe Inspections.
This was discussed at Council and in the current Flock Book page 5 by-law XXIV will be deleted as it is out of date. PLEASE all Members when you are selling Ewes to someone to start a new flock the Ewes must be first inspected. Please contact the Office and we will arrange for the inspection once we have contacted the President.
Looking After Rams.
Council briefly discussed this at their meeting because there is some concern when Members hear that their Rams did not perform for any real reason. They suggest that Members, when you sell Rams you don’t give a lecture to the Purchaser but perhaps discuss with them how to look after their Ram/s so that they do last for a number of mating seasons. Encourage feedback. Suggest that when they purchase them don’t put them in with other older Rams until after mating is over. When they come out of the Ewes they check them over, drench them and put them into a paddock with good feed. Don’t just take them out of the Ewes and sling them into the paddock that has the bits and pieces in and poor feed. These fellows have done their years work and need to be given care to be built up for the next year.
Allflex, Zee Tags, Woolovers.
Please find enclosed order forms for all three. You can order direct or contact the Office and we will put your orders in. Remember to get your orders in, in good time so your tags for the season are ready when the first lambs come.
The Treasurer thanks all of you who do order your sheep and even cattle tags through the Society, this as you are aware as per the balance sheet does generate revenue for the Society at no extra cost to you. Yes perhaps some companies do sell tags cheaper as a service but they add the “discount they offer” onto some other product to balance the books.
From The Pen of the President.
Firstly I would like to extend our condolences to Janet and Diane Gray and family with the passing of Rea. Our thoughts are with you at this sad time. We also extend our condolences to Robyn Bradley and her family with the passing of Jim this last week also.
At the time of writing we are in the midst of winter. For us the first part has been dry however since July has arrived we have become very wet quite quickly. I hope everyone is coping ok.
Also David Robertson has just given us an update on the Southdown Progeny Trial. The scanning and AI program has gone well with enough twin bearing ewes to meet our requirements. This is a very exciting project for the Southdown breed. Thanks again David for all the great work you are doing, it is very much appreciated.
Looking ahead to the coming season, hopefully we can all have a reasonable lambing as prices look to be positive. We just need something to kick start the wool market back into life.
Some of us will be heading towards lambing shortly which for those of us further south is a scary thought. However I will take this opportunity to remind everyone that you can order your tags through the society.
To everyone we wish you all the best for the rest of the winter and here’s hoping we have a good spring for lambing.
Thanks again for your passion for the breed
Todd Anderson
Please we need more photos/articles for Christina to put on the Web-Site.
Can you help Stuart and Jill regarding promotion, if so please contact either of them.
Welcome New Members, help is only a phone call or email away if need be.
Please remember that if you are selling Ewes to a person to start a Flock those ewes MUST be inspected on your property first.
When selling Rams, consider speaking to the purchaser about caring for the Ram/s that have been just purchased.
Enclosed are Zee, Allflex and Woolover order forms. Place your orders in good time, and when doing so we would appreciate it if you show your Flock Number in the Order No. area.
Happy lambing and may the weather be kind and the percentages good.

J.M.Pinfold (Mrs) and C.H.Ramsay (Miss),

2016 Feilding Stud Ram and Ewe Fair

Posted by Christina On December - 19 - 2016


Lot 51 Willowhaugh 7/15                                     $3800

Lot 52 Willowhaugh 122/15 (Rep)                        $3800     –  Gavin Deadman

Lot 53 Wiri 80/15                                                $ 800

Lot 54 Wiri 20/15                                               $1000

Lot 55 Banbury 521/15                                       $1100

Lot 56 Moor End 55/15                                       $1700

Lot 57 Moor End 43/15                                       $1000

Lot 58 Glen Orrin 168/15                                    $ 800

Lot 59 Glen Orrin 31/15                                      $1500    –  Stuart Brannigan

Lot 60 Murvale A39/15                                      Passed

Lot 61 Murvale A16/15                                         $ 900

Lot 62 Oakdale 1/15                                           Passed

Lot 63 Silverdale 19/15                                       Passed

Lot 64 Willowhaugh 235/15 (Rep)                         $4000             

Lot 65 Willowhaugh 106/15                                  $2200

Lot 66 Wiri 38/15                                                 $ 800

Overall results for the Southdowns were 16 offered with 3 passed and 13 sold for an average of $1,800. The other buyers were commercial.

Southdown breeder not sad to see young ram go for $9000

Posted by Christina On December - 8 - 2016
Waimate southdown stud breeder Chris Medlicott

Southdown breeder Chris Medlicott is pleased his young ram made $9000.

A $9000 ram topping a ram and ewe sale in Christchurch has made southdown breeder Chris Medlicott a happy farmer.

The southdown sire was well ahead of the 244 ram and 28 ewe field for the Canterbury A&P Association Elite Ram and Ewe Sale last week.

The top ram hogget from the mainly meat breed was bought by Winton southdown breeders Todd and Fleur Anderson, who have previously sourced Medlicott for their southdown bloodlines.

Chris Medlicott, from Waimate, has held the world record for selling a $16,000 southdown ram.

Chris Medlicott, from Waimate, has held the world record for selling a $16,000 southdown ram.

Medlicott’s Clifton Downs Southdown stud is in Waimate and he is no stranger to topping sale prices over the past 10 years at the ram auction. In 2005 he broke the world record for a $16,000 southdown.

“The $9000 was a pretty good result considering the climate and the sheep industry. I’m pretty positive about the sheep industry, but some people are concerned about the low commodity prices that aren’t that high, but of course [we have seen that come and go before].”

He said the ram hogget had performed well at the Canterbury A & P Show, winning the single ram hogget class and the all-breeds meat ram hogget section.

Medlicott said it had not been difficult letting the young ram go because that was his job as a southdown stud breeder.

“You just try to keep looking for another one. There is plenty of his bloodlines in the flock and you have to [balance the bloodlines]. Some times you can always buy a son back.”

Medlicott sells his elite rams at the Canterbury A&P Association sale and sold all seven of the ram hoggets he offered, including a sire bought for $4000 by Ross McCaw and another ram which will end up being delivered to Argentina. He sells about 80-90 ram hoggets a year with the others sold privately to buyers from Canterbury, Otago and some to Southland and parts of the North Island such as Hawke’s Bay.

He said the southdowns commanded high prices because of their good traits including their ability to get lambs away before the meat schedule drops.

“Southdown breeders are quite progressive and are prepared to keep investing in genetics.”

The average sale price was $1678 for 145 rams sold at the auction and $379 for 19 ewes. Total sales amounted to $250,500 after the final bid was taken.

The closest contender to the Medlicott ram was a texel from Culverden’s Sam Holland making $6500 and another southdown made $6500, belonging to Willowhaugh Enterprises from Blenheim. The southdowns had a good run with a Midlands ram sold by Dave Gillespie from Oxford making $5200.

Other top prices were a south suffolk making $5400 from  SJ Sinclair of Ashburton, a corriedale for $2200 from Wattlebank, GR & RW Wilson at West Melton, a hampshire for $3600 from La-Mac, BJ & PE Butterick at Tai Tapu and a romney for $5000 from Gatton Park, DA & SJ Wyllie at Ashburton.

The best border leicester made $2500 from Alyth, IR Caird at Timaru, a suffolk for $6000 from Collie Hills, Collie Hills Partnership at Kurow and another suffolk for $5000 from Taronga, SW Howard at Lawrence and a dorset down for $4000 from Belview, JP & WN Dodd at  Oamaru.

Canterbury A&P Association sheep committee member Graham Sidey said sought after rams had sold at impressive prices and the overall result was positive.

“We were expecting the prices to be down a little, but we had a great turnout and overall we’re really happy with the sale. There was good buying for purchasers, especially for the top-end commercial rams selling at the $800 to $1000 mark.”

The total tally was the lowest for the past five years, including a $306,000 peak in 2013 when the ram average was $1867.

Going, going, gone: Merrydowns Romney and Southdown ram fair

Posted by Christina On December - 6 - 2016
Merrydowns Ram Sale

John McKone sells a ram

PGG Wrightson senior auctioneer John McKone sells a ram at the Merrydowns Romney and Southdown ram fair at Waikoikoi last week.

Blair and Sally Robertson sold 194 rams as far afield as Warkworth for an average price of $1130.

Romney rams ranged from $600 to $3800, the top priced ram purchased by Peter and Diane Lowe from Ashburton, and Southdown rams sold from $450 to $3000.

Mr and Mrs Robertson, who have the largest Southdown breeding flock in Australasia and the largest registered Romney breeding flock in the South Island, were pleased with the sale result.

The focus at Merrydowns was on keeping the breeds pure with no cross-breeding, Mr Robertson said.

PGG Wrightson Livestock national genetics manager Callum Stewart at the ram sale at Feilding saleyards.

PGG Wrightson Livestock national genetics manager Callum Stewart at the ram sale at Feilding saleyards.

Tis the season to be buying rams for work next year for North Island farmers.

PGG Wrightson Livestock genetic manager, Callum Stewart said farmers would continue to buy two tooth rams at the major sales in the North Island to the end of December, and in the South Island a little later, usually in January and February.

He said central and southern North Island buyers were important at Feilding sales, but buyers came from throughout New Zealand.

“About 50 per cent of rams are sold on farm, and half are sold through national and local sales.”

Stewart observed buyers taking the usual steps during bidding for 127 terminal polled dorset two-tooth rams at the Glengarry 50th ram sale at the Feilding saleyards. 

He said farmers checked rams by looking at their figures on paper, but they had to like the animals as well.

Stewart said they bought bulls the same way – looking at figures first and then running their eyes over a cattle beast as well.

“Buyers are looking for ram with a good constitution. That means good body condition and the ram has to be structurally sound and the loin area is important. They need a good straight back. People want early finishing lambs from rams. That means a ram has to be sound.  It has to service ewes, and has to have good feet and legs.”

Stewart said some farmers wanted early lambs and would be starting mating soon. Others in hill country put the ram out in March, April or June.

He said many farmers wanted a meat breed, and bought a terminal sire, which meant all lambs, male and female went to the meat plant.

“Meat breeds such as the  charollais​, southdown, suffolks, hampshire, dorset and south suffolk. They don’t care so much about wool.  They are thinking meat.”

Other farmers wanted to keep female sheep for replacements and were more inclined to have romneys, coopworths or perendale ewes.

Stewart said the problem with dropping ewe numbers was that ram numbers remained the same. That allowed farmers to people could pick and chose a greater ram selection.

Many ram buyers were looking for facial eczema tolerant rams after the bad year for the disease, which meant fewer lambs, and production losses from ewes.

The North Island ram fair is at Manfeild Park in Feilding on December 13. Wool and meat breeds will be presented with many farmers taking the opportunity to look at rams, before buying starts.

The three generation family that shows together and stays together

Posted by Christina On November - 10 - 2016
The southdown farming trio of Leo Christey, left, Mark Christey, 16, and Andrew Christey.

The southdown farming trio of Leo Christey, left, Mark Christey, 16, and Andrew Christey.

It’s a good job there is no school exam clash for Mark Christey during the Canterbury A&P Show.

Mark is the third generation of his Southbridge family to lead southdown sheep into the judging ring at the annual event.

He accepts school comes first and the show second, but it is a close-run thing.

Three generations of sheep exhibitors - Mark Christey, left, Andrew Christey and Leo Christey.

Three generations of sheep exhibitors – Mark Christey, left, Andrew Christey and Leo Christey.

“Exams are starting today, but not for me. They start on Monday for me, but last year I had to go home for an exam on Thursday.

The 16-year-old from Ellesmere College is in his element in the sheep pens and looks forward to show day each year.

“It’s good to get out and see what other people are doing compared with Dad at home,” Mark said.

“I don’t know how long I have been going to the show. I wouldn’t remember because I was so young when I started.”

At the show are his grandfather Leo, who started the family’s Mapua Southdown Stud in 1963, and grandmother Leonie, a show stalwart.

​Alongside them are father Andrew, sister Sarah with mother Louise an integral part of the farming family.  Each member is involved in their 100 hectare farm which combines mixed cropping with 220 sows, cow grazing, a commercial sheep flock and the prized 130 ewe stud.

Their best show result was top drawer ribbons in the southdown carcass evaluation class and best pair of rams several years ago but since then the wins have been elusive and they have had to settle for second and third placings.

Andrew said his father, Leo, started the stud to breed a “fast fattening” lamb and it continued to meet this criteria with southdowns since developing into a premier meat breed.

“I could see the opportunity when I took over the farm over 10 years ago to carry on with the stud and sell commercial rams.”

Andrew is no stranger to attending the show himself and enjoys the camaraderie, family outing and the competition.

“Because Mum was quite heavily involved in their day they used to go to the Royal Show every year when it was three in the North island and two in the South Island and they used to go everywhere and we grew up going to the show.”

The family farm was bought in 1919 by Mark’s great, great grandfather Jack.

Unsurprisingly, the “dream goal” is for Mark to take over the intensively-run operation after tertiary studies.

He helps with lambing and checking the ewes and is starting to assist his father with selecting stud rams.

“I know a little bit, but not much because there is heaps involved. Dad and Grandad know a lot about sheep, that’s for sure.”

With his family pedigree, it is not any surprise that Mark is a big supporter of the southdown breed.

“Is southdown the best breed in the world? Well, I would have to say that – there is no choice in that one.”

Southdown Breaks Record

Posted by Christina On June - 21 - 2016
By Andrew Swallow

Big Money: This Clifton Downs Southdown ewe made $4400

A Southdown ewe fetched what breeders believe was a record price at a one-off auction during the breed society’s recent South Island tour.

The two-tooth from Chris and Shelley Medlicott’s Clifton Downs stud was bought for $4400 by central Canterbury breeder Andrew Christey and Gisborne’s Andrew Powdrell.

Christey said he wanted to introduce the ewe’s genetics to his Mapua stud flock at Southbridge and when he’d seen it and its twin at the Christchurch show he’d liked the phonotype too.

“I want her to produce rams that will work both commercially and stud-wise.

“Commercial rams are our bread and butter and her bloodlines are top-notch,” Christey said.

He and Powdrell agreed before the auction, conducted off-farm by PGG Wrightson at a lunch-stop on the tour, they would team-up to buy the ewe with Powdrell planning to take embryos for implantation in his Turiroa stud flock.

“There was no point us bidding against each other and it’s pleasing that the money will go to a good cause,” Christey noted, reflecting on auction proceeds going towards tour costs and research by the society.

Newly elected Southdown Sheep Society president Todd Armstrong dismissed the suggestion the donation aspect of the sale inflated the price.

“It was a genuine auction.

“We probably needed $1000 out of it for the tour. After that it was because the bidders genuinely wanted it.”

Happy Buyers. Andrew Powdrell and Andrew Christey were satisfied with their days work.

Another auction on the tour, held at John Macaulay’s Tahrua Stud, saw $2600 paid by Ian and Christina Jordan of Willowhaugh stud for a pick of a ewe lamb.

Again the proceeds went to the society.

“It was to raise funds to start investigating a combined approach to a recording scheme to benefit and involve all breeders,” Macauley said.

The work could help find the best genetics across the breed for traits such as growth, meat quality, cold tolerance and sound feet.

“We have to make things happen and continue to be proactive.

“The breed’s already renowned for its fast growth rate and number of lambs finished off their mothers and we need to keep building on that.”

Young stud breeder’s success story

Posted by Christina On March - 2 - 2016

By Peter Burke

24-year-old Corey Prouting is one of the youngest Southdown stud breeders in New Zealand.

24-year-old Corey Prouting is one of the youngest Southdown stud breeders in New Zealand.

At just 24 years of age Corey Prouting is making a name as a Southdown stud sheep breeder. While his operation is relatively small he is following in the family tradition as a breeder of excellent terminal sires.

Prouting’s 100HA farm is just north of Levin, in an area of mostly dairying and horticulture, with few commercial sheep operations.

The farm is largely flat and beyond it rise the distant Tararua Ranges, a natural barrier that keeps the area wet, so it handles the summer dry well.

The property has been owned by the family since the 1920s and Corey Prouting is the fifth generation to run the farm. The first owners, his great grandparents, ran mostly Southdown’s. His grandmother started the stud in 1943 and passed it to Corey to manage in 2009.

Since boyhood Prouting showed a great interest in the farm.

“In the weekends I’d help my grandparents on the farm and I enjoyed this. After I left secondary school – Waiopehu College (also Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy’s school) – I spent a year doing the farming course at Otiwhiti station in 2009,” he told Rural News.

Once through the Otiwhiti course, Prouting took over managing the Southdown stud. He runs 65 breeding ewes and each year sells about 25 rams to buyers in the North Island. His grandparents started this and he continues.

While Prouting has specific responsibility for the Southdowns, his grandparents run other stud sheep on the farm – Cheviots, Polled Dorsets, Perendales and Romneys and – he helps them with these as well.

The part of the farm where the Southdowns are run was first a dairy farm, but was converted to sheep about 20 years ago. “I like the characteristics of Southdowns: they are very quiet animals, easy to deal with and are good mothers. Their lambs have low birthweights so there are no lambing problems but then they have very quick growth rates,” Prouting explains.

“This allows commercial farmers to get the lambs that have gone to the Southdown ram off the mothers quickly and away to the works.”

This season has been a tough one for all farmers in Horowhenua. There was a lot of rain, frosts came early and the grass has not grown as well as in past seasons. Normally Prouting relies only on grass but this year he had to feed baleage to keep the ewes in good condition leading up to lambing.

“Stud farming entails a lot work and is quite hard because you have to do all the tagging and record keeping,” he says. “But it’s rewarding because you can see the ram hoggets after a year are good sheep and you can show them.”

Showing his stud Southdowns and generally becoming involved in the Southdown Society has been an interest Prouting has pursued since he took over the stud. A few years ago he won the ewe hogget class at the Royal Show at Palmerston North. This year he won the supreme champion ram at the Levin A&P show.

He says showing is good because it enables you to benchmark your stock against others and help think of new ways of managing the stock. But the interest in showing his stock has led to another opportunity – judging.

“I went to the 2014 Royal Show for sheep judging and won the prize for the top junior judge. The prize for winning that was to go to the Sydney Royal show and I went up against competitors from all the Australian states and won a silver medal.”

Prouting is keen to pursue a career as show judge and says he’s had lots of support from the Southdown Society. Last year, they invited him to be junior judge and he’s keen to see where this will lead.

At just 24, Prouting is among the youngest Southdown stud breeders in the country. He’s keen to continue this and is working hard to buy his own farm.

A true terminal sire that’s gone in a hurry

Posted by Christina On March - 2 - 2016

sheepSouthdown breeder Chris Medlicott says farmers too often focus on the price per lamb instead of the return on kilograms of dry matter eaten.

He says more lambs sold off the ewe at weaning equates to higher efficiency, but this is not always achievable on different classes of country.

Medlicott says high lamb weaning weights are achieved by high quality feed, milking ability of the ewe and genetic ability to grow and lay down muscle. He also believes early spring country plays its part.

“For lambs left after weaning, it is important to have them growing at speed. The quicker those lambs exit your farm over summer the more options you have to improve next year’s production or take on trading stock.”

Medlicott says a simple way to work out the value is on a weak schedule price, like that predicted for the upcoming main killing season.

“At $5/kg a 17kg lamb brings $85,” he explains. “Lambs left after the December 10 weaning draft – with an average liveweight of 28kg — at a store value of $2.40/kg bring $67.20 per head.

“But when these lambs reach an average kill weight of 17kg by January 12 it equates to a return of only 28 cents per kilo of drymatter consumed.

“At a later killing date of January 29 the return will only be 23 cents, and if killed on March 20 the return will now be only 14 cents per kilo of dry matter consumed.”

Medlicott says the key message is for farmers to do their sums, taking into account a range of things including climatic conditions.

“Getting lambs away early is one of the strengths of the Southdown breed. A really positive attribute of the Southdown is they don’t suffer a weaning check, so you can be back drafting soon after weaning.

“A true terminal should be exactly that – gone in a hurry.”

Easy lambing with lambs that grow

Posted by Christina On March - 2 - 2016

Easy lambingBy Peter Burke

Roger Tweeds runs 2300 Romney ewes and 200 hoggets on his 300ha farm near Lawrence, Central Otago.

Tweed’s been 30 years on his present farm, a mix of river flats and steep country and typically dry in summer.

He’s experimented with a variety of terminal sires over the years, but has settled with the Southdown which he puts across up to 500 ewes in his B flock and all his ewe hoggets.

Tweed says the Southdown makes for easy lambing and what he likes most is that the lambs grow well and come weaning time he has a good product to sell. He reckons with some other terminal sires he’s tried, while the lambing percentage was good the growth rate was not and that’s what counts!

Tweed says this is especially so with the lambs from the ewe hoggets.

“My place is steep and gets hot in summer. I notice that the Southdown rams and their progeny do well in this environment. I love the Southdown because they just keep on growing,” he says.

He selects his B flock ewes based on how the animals look, not on their age. As for weaning, this depends on the state of the lambs.

“The first lambs are generally weaned in mid-December, a mixture of those put to the terminal sire and those from the commercial flock. I don’t lamb an early mob as some people do.

“For example, last year I weaned after new year. I don’t farm by the calendar, I farm for the betterment of the animals.”

Tweed says the Southdown ram produces a “good meaty sheep” and he’s especially pleased with the lambs from the hoggets. He reckons the weight these lambs put on sets them aside from some other terminal sire breeds available.