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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.”

Elite Ram and Ewe Sale Results

Posted by Christina On December - 4 - 2015

The Canterbury A&P Association Elite Ram and Ewe Sale, held Friday 27 November, attracted a quality line up, with 231 Rams and 11 Ewes entered into the sale. With 144 rams selling, the average sale price was $1861 and $250 for ewes with 6 selling; …Elite Ram and Ewe Sale Results

The Canterbury A&P Association Elite Ram and Ewe Sale, held Friday 27 November, attracted a quality line up, with 231 Rams and 11 Ewes entered into the sale. With 144 rams selling, the average sale price was $1861 and $250 for ewes with 6 selling; total sales of $269,500 were recorded.

The highest price was reached by a Clifton Downs Southdown Ram (Chris Medlicott, Waimate), selling for $16,000.

Other top prices were as follows: Corriedale – $2900 (Wattlebank, GR and RW Wilson, West Melton); Hampshire – $3100 (Blue View, Gudex Family, Ashburton); Romney – $2400 (Gatton Park, DA & SJ Wyllie, Ashburton); Poll Dorset – $2000 (Brooklands, A&P McIlraith, Leeston); Border Leicester – $4000 (Hermiston, GJ Letham, Ashburton); Texel – $4000 (Hemingford, SEJ & V Holland, Culverden); South Suffolk – $4200 (Inver, SJ Sinclair, Ashburton); Suffolk – $6700 (Stoneylea, AW & JH Adams, Christchurch).

Anthony Cox, Stud Stock Rural Livestock and Canterbury A&P Association Sheep Committee Member, said that the results were positive.

“There were a few less rams sold this year, but given the current industry climate it was a very positive result with the average selling price up on last year.

“The standard was very high and good rams were sought after. It was great to see that those rams that didn’t go to stud duty were able to be purchased by commercial buyers for a very reasonable price.”

Southdown sheep rule in meat breed ring

Posted by Christina On November - 21 - 2015


The-Canterbury A&P Show

Southdowns made nearly a clean sweep of the sheep meat breed titles at the Canterbury A  P Show.

Apart from a suffolk winning the Miss Canterbury ewe hogget competition, owned by Simon Howard, the southdowns had their own way.

Winner of the all-breeds super ewe meat breed championship was a southdown ewe and triplets bred by Woodbourne daughter and father team, Christina and Ian Jordan. The class is based on performance figures and judges interpretation of their structure.

The Jordans, who have run their stud since 1956, claimed the title with the ewe’s mid-August born triplet lambs carrying a collective carcass weight of more than 100 kilograms. They also won the supreme meat sheep of the show ribbon with the same ewe and triplets.

“This year was a better result for us than last year because we didn’t win the meat sheep then after winning it four years in a row before,” said Christina Jordan. “It’s been a very good result for us and we have had a good show.”

She said the stud’s long breeding programme could be credited for the success along with their efforts to breed structurally sound and well muscled sheep using estimated breeding values.

This was their sixth all-breed meat title. The Jordans also won the trifecta ribbon with three southdown ram hoggets.

Dave Gillespie and Phil Williams won the southdown champion ram title and the best carcass meat breed sheep of the show with a southdown ram they bought off the Jordans two years ago for $16,000 at the Christchurch ram sale. The ram was paired with the Jordans’ championship ewe to win the all-breeds pair title.

The all-breed supreme wool animal of the show title was won by father and son Allan and Simon Paterson, from Ranfurly, with a two year old poll merino ram.

This was the first time they had shown the ram with a 19.5 micron fleece last shorn a year ago and measuring about 150mm in length. The fleece will eventually be bound for the active wear market.

“He’s got pretty good wool on an excellent carcass and he’s a good conformation ram built like a crossbred sheep with merino wool on him. He will probably cut 12 kilograms of wool when we take him home.”

The ram was the great grandson of their previous winner of the title.

Paterson said the Armidale Merino Stud, established also in 1956, was a family operation on a farm that had been in the family since the 1880s on high country blocks with other blocks on rolling hill country.

“We are pretty passionate about the industry and we have been here for a long time.”

Among the other wool sheep winners was Parnham Hill Stud’s  James Hoban from Culverden who took the all-breeds super ewe wool breed title with an eight year-old corriedale ewe with triplets at foot.

In other events, the Mint Lamb Competition was won by Hawarden’s Andrew Sidey with a texel cross poll dorset lamb. Sidey is a regular exhibitor of corriedales at the show each year. The highest yield award was won by Paul Gardner – last year’s competition winner. The overall winner was decided on a culmination of yield, tender testing and taste.

Results Canterbury A & P Show 2015

Posted by Christina On November - 20 - 2015


(Judge(s)): Todd Anderson
Sandra Howard – Associate Judge
Mark Copeland, Simon Howard – Merial Alliance Class

Ram, over 18 months, shorn. (7):
Gillespie/Williams 1, Jordan I M & C A 2, Gillespie/Jebson/Macaulay 3.

Alliance NZ Ltd Ram, under 18 months, shorn – winner receives the CENTRAL (17):
Christey A C & L K , Gillespie A D , Christey A C & L K , Jordan I M & C A 1, Medlicott Chris J 2, Medlicott Chris J 3.

Alliance NZ Ltd & Merial Ancare Quality Meat Yield Class, two Rams, (9):
Jordan I M & C A 1, Medlicott Chris J 2, Williams P G, F C 3, Medlicott Chris J 4, Christey A C & L K 5, Gillespie A D 6.

Champion Southdown Ram : 

Canterbury A&P Association trophy awarded to John Deans in 1884:

Reserve Champion Southdown Ram :
I M & C A Jordan.

Ewe, over 30 months, shorn, and her suckling lamb(s). (5):
Jordan I M & C A 1, Christey A C & L K 2, Jordan I M & C A 3.

Ewe, 18 to 30 months, shorn and her suckling lamb(s). (1):
Jordan I M & C A 1.

Essential Nutrition Ewe, under 18 months, shorn. (10):
Williams P G, F C , Moorhead N J , Moorhead N J , Medlicott Chris J 1, Williams P G, F C 2, Medlicott Chris J 3.

Allflex NZ Ltd Pair of Ewes, under 18 months, shorn. (8):
Medlicott Chris J 1, Christey A C & L K 2, Williams P G, F C 3.

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

Reserve Champion Southdown Ewe :
Chris J Medlicott.

Supreme Champion Southdown :
I M & C A Jordan.

Most Points Southdown Section – winner receives the JAMES DEANS CHALLENGE SHIELD.:
I M & C A Jordan.

Allflex Best Carcase Southdown. Allflex kindly donate a $50 voucher.:

Record price for ram ‘humbling’

Posted by Christina On February - 27 - 2015
Todd Anderson

Winton farmer Todd Anderson with his Southdown rams.

Southland farmers Todd and Fleur Anderson sold a southdown ram for $15,000 at their on-farm auction earlier this month.

It was the highest price achieved for a ram across all breeds this year. “It was quite humbling.

“To get that sort of endorsement means we are going in the right direction,” Todd Anderson said.

Tralee Southdowns

Southdown rams on Todd Anderson’s Winton property.

Anderson said the terminal sire ram was “definitely the best” he had bred and was exceptionally early maturing with great definition and muscling in the hind- quarters.

“He’s a phenomenal ram with great SIL (Sheep Improvement) figures.”

The ram was bought by leading southdown stud breeder Chris Medlicott, of Waimate.

Medlicott holds the world record price of $16,000 for a Clifton Downs southdown ram which he sold in 2005.

The southdown was renowned for its fast growth rates and early maturing carcass and thrived in dry conditions like those being experienced on the east coast of the South Island. Anderson said being able to finish lambs early in the season was a key driver of profit, after lambing percentage.

“If you can get your lambs away early then you can put the feed into your ewes or other stock.

“There’s huge opportunity for farmers to improve their mean kill date.”

Anderson has always had an affinity with southdowns – the “oldest and purest” sheep breed in the world.

But, they haven’t always been so popular.

Once regarded as a “short and dumpy” sheep, they now have longer leaner frames and yield well.

Anderson established his Tralee Southdown stud in 2002 after he paid good money for 30 ewes at the Charleston stud dispersal sale at Oamaru.

Anderson grew up in Invercargill and worked as a rural finance manager for the BNZ for 10 years but always had a desire to go farming.

He started leasing a small block near Invercargill to run his sheep before buying his 325 hectare property at Kauana, near Winton.

Anderson’s stud now numbers about 200 southdown ewes, but does not farm any commercial sheep – preferring to stick with breeding stud sheep which also includes a romney stud.

“My passion is genetics. Even the dogs in my kennels have to be well bred,” Anderson said.

He isn’t scared to pay for good genetics and in 2003 paid $13,200 for a ram bred by Medlicott.

“I always buy as well as I can.

“I’ve bought a lot of rams off Chris because he has the No 1 southdown stud in the country.”

Anderson used his top southdown ram as a hogget over 24 ewes and was pleased with how his progeny performed. A pair of his sons were placed first in the Merial carcass evaluation class at the Gore A&P Show.

He sold 50 rams at his on-farm auction in early February for an average price of $1240, of which five went to stud breeders and the rest to commercial farmers.

Historically, southdown rams had been mainly mated to romney ewes, but were now used over a wide range of breeds.

Anderson was focused on breeding early maturing southdown rams which performed in a range of environments.

“It’s important to finish lambs early. The sooner they are out the gate you can utilise that dry matter for other stock and it’s not costing you as much to get them to weight.”

Anderson said one of his clients was mating their ewe hoggets to the southdown and lambing them in October and killing 60 per cent of them at 17kg in a weaning draft in January.

He also raves about southdown meat.

“It’s the only [sheep] meat we eat. It has a beautiful texture and it’s a very fine grained meat.”

Ram breeder a CT scanning fan

Posted by Christina On December - 23 - 2014
Brent Macaulay

SCAN FAN: Canterbury farmer Brent Macaulay is a fan of CT scanning to get the most out of his southdowns. The ram had a CT scan as a ram hogget that helped to get an accurate reading of its internal as well as external virtues.

A Canterbury ram stud breeder has become a convert to CT scanning after selling a southdown ram for $14,000.

Brent Macaulay, from Maclaka stud, Lincoln, was one of two breeders to take the top price honours, with Chris Medlicott’s ram from his Clifton Downs Southdown stud sharing the same price, at the Canterbury A&P Association’s Elite Ram and Ewe Sale last month.

Both breeders sent their sires through a Lincoln University CT scanner as ram hoggets to examine their bone and muscle composition.

Macaulay was so impressed that he will be sending another five or six rams with sires from other southdown breeders for CT scanning in February or March.

He said the results confirmed his thoughts the ram would do well at the sale.

“I thought carcass-wise he was hard to fault and cat scanned him as a ram hogget and he cat scanned well.

“He had the scanning data to meet the eye appraisal which I thought was good hindquarters and loin and that came through the cat scanning as well as being structurally sound.

“I used it for the first time last autumn and now I’m a convert and will use it on my top guys every year. I’m really loving the cat scanning, it’s magnificent and great for the stud breeding industry,” Macaulay said.

Macaulay also CT scanned a ram he thought would be another top animal to find after the results that it had a fat layer not visible to the eye.

The ram, with a 56 per cent carcass yield, will be sold as a flock ram after being ruled out as a top sire animal.

However, the CT scanning backed up the promising traits of Maclaka 14 with a 62 per cent carcass yield which was sold for top money to Blair Robertson, of Merrydowns stud near Gore.

Macaulay said his goal was to build on the CT scanning benchmark set by the ram.

The ram breeder was still recovering from the bidding flush for Maclaka 14 and was taken aback when another of his southdown sires sold for $3800 to ex- lamb drafter Paul Ross, from Mayfield.

Macaulay runs a small stud operation of about 35 ewes on eight hectares in between running a scanning business in the winter and managing the stock at PGGWrightson’s feed research farm near Lincoln. Setting up his stud in 1995, ewes were outsourced initially from Canterbury studs until he built up a base for home breeding.

The sire for Maclaka 14 came from an Australian ram that caught the eye of his father, John, during a southdown tour. John bought the ram a few years ago in partnership with an Australian farmer and sent semen home for his own stud outside of Timaru.

The father and son team often use the same sire line.

Macaulay was sorely tempted to keep Maclaka 14, but its bloodlines were getting a bit cramped at his small operation.

Instead, he reinvested some of its earnings in a small share of Medlicott’s $14,000 ram sold to David Gillespie, whose stud is near Oxford, and John Jebson, at Charing Cross.

Macaulay managed to come to an after-sale arrangement with Gillespie after a syndicate including himself and his dad missed out on the bidding.

“He ended up being a little steep for us and we were bidding on him and he got to $9000 and that was me out, but I managed to chat to the guy who bought him and he offered me a small share,” Macaulay said.

“We are reinvesting into what I thought was the other good ram for the day.”

Meanwhile, Maclaka 14 will be put to good use by Robertson, who plans to put him over 300 ewes at his big stud operation.

Macaulay remains hopeful that in coming years he might be able to call on Robertson for one of its sons to retain its top bloodline in his own stud.

The sale’s $1782 average price per ram fell again this year, down from $1867, and the average ewe price was $234, down from $287, for total sales of $286,725.


Posted by Christina On December - 11 - 2014


Lot 59 Willowhaugh 157/13 $2000.00 Mangaotea Stud
(Replacement Ram)
Lot 60 Willowhaugh 68/13 $6000.00 C.Rapley
Lot 61 Silverdale 146/13 $900.00 Commercial
Lot 62 Silverdale 150/13 $2600.00 C.Deadman
(Replacement Ram)
Lot 63 Wiri 15/13 $900.00 Commercial
Lot 64 Wiri 7/13 Withdrawn
Lot 65 Mangakura 149/13 $800.00 Commercial
Lot 66 Mangakura 134/13 $800.00 Commercial
Lot 67 Rawa 72/13 $3000.00 D.Grieve
Lot 68 Rawa 58/13 $1000.00 Commercial
Lot 69 Moor End 2/13 $900.00 Commercial
Lot 70 Moor End 3/13 $800.00 Commercial
(Replacement Ram – Tw to Lot 69)
Lot 71 Glen Orrin 88/13 $800.00 Commercial
Lot 72 Glen Orrin 147/13 $800.00 Commercial
Lot 73 Te Mara 37/13 Passed
Lot 74 Willowhaugh 122/13 $4500.00 S.G.& P.D.Baker & S.P.& P.J.Innes
Lot 75 Willowhaugh 147/13 Withdrawn
Lot 76 Moor End 51/13 Withdrawn

TOTAL $25,800.00

Average for 14 sold $ 1842.86