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Playing cricket important in sheep breeder’s life

Posted by mark3738 On March - 5 - 2018
Doug McCall, a brother of the owner, and judge Eualie Thwaites, with the Southdown ram which won the Supreme Sheep Award at the Southland A&P Association's 150th Show in Invercargill on Saturday.

Doug McCall, a brother of the owner, and judge Eualie Thwaites, with the Southdown ram which won the Supreme Sheep Award at the Southland A&P Association’s 150th Show in Invercargill on Saturday.

A cricket game at Waikoikoi prevented Ross McCall from being on hand to receive the trophy for the Supreme Sheep Award at the Southland A&P Show in Invercargill on Saturday.

McCall, who along with his wife Tracey are sheep breeders at Waikoikoi, was playing for his local cricket club. However, the luck he had at the show didn’t stretch to Waikoikoi and the home team lost to Central Western.  

He and his brother Doug, of Benio, brought the family’s entries to the show on Saturday morning and then Ross returned home.

The Southdown ram, owned byMcCall, and Tracey and David Somerville, of Pine Bush, won four awards on Saturday – Supreme, Age Group, Champion Southdown and Meat Cup. 

“He was a point off winning the supreme award at the Wyndham show [in December],” said McCall, a fifth generation farmer.

Winning the top award on Saturday provided hi m with his fourth supreme title at shows.

“It’s a big honour winning at the 150th show.”  

His brother Doug said the ram had strong qualities. 

“He’s got good hindquarters, good loin, good bone and well balanced.” 

Saturday was the first Southland A&P Association Show McCall had entered sheep in since the annual event was moved from the Invercargill Showgrounds 10 years ago. The main reason for his absence was that it clashed with him playing cricket for the Waikoikoi club, of which he became a life member in January.

“I’ve been playing cricket for 33 years.”

Calder has many memories of Southland A&P Shows

Posted by mark3738 On March - 1 - 2018

Past presidents Noel Hamilton and Graham Calder are in a team setting up for the Southland A&P Association’s 150th Show at Donovan Park

A sheep stud breeder says one of the best things about A & P Shows is the camaraderie.

And, Graham Calder likes a bit of a challenge.

Like the time it took him 40 years to win a superior sheep title cup.

Calder who owns Southdown and South Suffolk Stud at Kennington has been entering stock at the Southland A & P Association show for at least 45 years.

“It’s a good opportunity to compare your sheep with other breeds and to see how your breed is going,” Calder said.

“There’s good camaraderie with the other breeders [at the shows].”

Calder had a memorable 2017 Southland show when winning the Meat and Wool Cup for the superior sheep title.

“It took me 40 odd years to win it.” 

Calder, who is also a show past president, will work alongside another past president Noel Hamilton as sheep marshalls at the association’s 150th show in Invercargill on Saturday.

One of the highlights for Hamilton during his time as president was the staging of a Royal Show in 1994. The association had to pay $5000 to the New Zealand Royal Agricultural Society for hosting rights.

Specially-made ribbons to mark a Royal Show were needed and accommodation for overseas judges required.

“There was a lot of extra cost to hold it … sponsorship [money] covered a lot of it,” Calder said.

Calder can remember leading his neighbour’s milk shorthorn heifer in the grand parade at the 100th Southland show at the Invercargill Showgrounds.

Saturday will be the sixth year the show has been held at Donovan Park after it was at the Invercargill racecourse for three years. Before that, the showgrounds was the longstanding venue.

Hamilton said Donovan Park was a “really nice setting” for the show.

The oldest piece of machinery owned by the association is a 1960s Massey Ferguson 135 tractor which is used for mowing.

The pets’ area at the show was always popular with children, Hamilton said.

 

Offenders doing community service are helping volunteers to set up for Saturday’s show.

“There’s a lot of manual labour needed and without their help, we’d struggle [to get everything done in time],” Hamilton said.

Community service workers had worked for the association for many decades, he added.

Top Ram Sells for $16,000 at 2017 Canterbury Elite Ram and Ewe Sale

Posted by Christina On December - 20 - 2017
David Robertson of the Cordyline Southdown Stud sold this ram for $16,000 at Canterbury A&P Association elite ram and ewe sale 2017.

David Robertson of the Cordyline Southdown Stud sold this ram for $16,000 at Canterbury A&P Association elite ram and ewe sale 2017.

Top Ram sells for $16,000 at Elite Ram and Ewe Sale

The 2017 Canterbury A&P Association Elite Ram and Ewe Sale, held Friday 1 December, attracted a quality line up, with 223 Rams and 20 Ewes of all breeds entered into the sale. With 156 rams selling, the average sale price was $1721 and $353 for ewes with 19 selling.

The highest price was reached by a Cordyline (David Robertson, Oamaru), selling for $16,000 (purchased by AD Gillespie, Midlands Stud, Oxford). The $16,000 ram (Cordyline 15/16) was born a triplet and recently won Champion Southdown at the Southern Canterbury A&P Show. Mr Robertson has retained semen rights for the ram.

Dave Robertson (left) and David Gillespie of Midlands Southdowns who purchased the ram, Cordyline 15.16 for $16,000.

Dave Robertson (left) and David Gillespie of Midlands Southdowns who purchased the ram, Cordyline 15.16 for $16,000.

37 Southdown Rams sold at the fall of the hammer and 2 were passed in. A number of other rams sold for top prices including: $8500 (Chris J Medlicott, Waimate) Clifton Downs 462/16 purchased by Taffy Ltd and $7000 (Willowhaugh Enterprises Ltd, Blenheim) Willowhaugh 82/16 purchased by Dave Robertson & John Macaulay. Overall there was a good number of transfers and a good commercial buying power.

The ewes from Musburg (Stuart Brannigan) sold well averaging $530.

Canterbury A&P Show: A ‘Rock Star’ ram and flying gumboots

Posted by mark3738 On November - 20 - 2017

They may be little, but a dramatic steeplechase featuring Shetland ponies was one of the big drawcards at the Canterbury A&P Show.

Blue, the early leader, bowed out after missing a hurdle, leaving the path clear for Muffin and jockey Mollie Hedgman, 13, to take out the four-lap race.

The event, known as the Shetland Grand National, packed out the embankments in the Main Arena for the third and final day of the 155th show on Friday.

It was followed by the announcement of the prestigious Supreme Champion Animal of Show award, which went to a Southdown ram nicknamed ‘Rock Star’.

Christina Jordan is presented the Supreme Champion Animal of Show award for her ram, nicknamed 'Rock Star'.

The award recognises the ultimate animal at the show, pitting supreme champions from each class and species against one another.

Christina Jordan, of Blenheim, said she knew her ram, which came from a long line of winners, had “X factor” from an early age.

More than $20,000 worth of his semen had been sold to other breeders looking for ‘Rock Star’ genetics, she said.

“I’m elated. It’s been a wonderful show, it always is. It’s a credit to everyone involved for putting forward an amazing show each year.”

Event director Geoff Bone said, while official numbers had yet to come in, he expected about 100,000 people had attended across the three days.

The Canterbury Agricultural Park was packed on Friday, with an estimated 50,000 to 60,000 punters milling down the avenues under an overcast sky.

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

TIM CRONSHAW – NZ Farmer

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.