Southdown Sheep Society, NZ

"The sheep with an illustrious past and a very bright future"

Archive for the ‘Breeders’ Category

Ian Jordan made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit

Posted by The Roving Shepherd On December - 31 - 2021
Ian Jordan, 94 has been made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to the livestock industry.

Ian Jordan, 94, with his daughter, Christina Jordan. Ian has been made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to the livestock industry.

Ian Jordan has come a long way since paying 30 guineas for a stud ewe, and he’s hoping his legs can carry him a little further to enable him to collect his New Year Honours medal.

Blenheim-based Jordan is being made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to the livestock industry.

Jordan, 94, is retired from farming duties, but he said he still liked to get involved.

“At 90-years-old I could still plough a paddock. I’m still interested in livestock.”

He is receiving the honour for contributing to sheep and cattle breeding in Marlborough, nationally and internationally.

His first and greatest passion in farming has been breeding Southdown sheep, he said, but his list of roles and achievement stretches far and wide.

Jordan is currently Honorary Judge for the Southdown breed and his Jersey cattle and Southdown sheep are regular exhibitors at Agricultural and Pastoral Shows – numerous trophies for his prize animals decorate his home.

But amongst all his achievements, he said one of the greatest memories of his career was seeing his son, Roger Jordan, place runner-up in a world ploughing contest.

“That was one of my highlights.”

Jordan has grown his expertise in sheep since he bought his first 10 stud ewes in 1956 for 30 guineas each.

These days, he exports Southdown, recently sending a ram to Uruguay and a cargo of the breed to north Japan with an enquiry for more to go to South America, he said.

“That’s how this developed, we’re one of the leaders in the Southdown in New Zealand now. That’s the one where I’ve made so much progress.”

Jordan was born with farming running through his veins and a family history in the industry in Blenheim where he still resides.

He said a lot had changed over the years, with the biggest shift being the transformation of land from grazing to vineyards.

“There is not as much livestock, but there’s still a lot of sheep grazing vineyards.”

With his legs not working the way they used to, Jordan said his children and grandchildren were following in his younger footsteps, taking on the responsibilities of livestock.

“We’ve always liked to keep good stock.”

As for the Order of Merit honour, he said was “surprised” and “very happy to accept it”.

“It’s keeping me wanting to live a bit longer. I want to be able to stand up just to get this medal in early May.”

Central Southdown Breeders Club Day

Posted by The Roving Shepherd On November - 17 - 2021

Central Southdown Breeders Club day

 

Recently a successful Central Southdown Breeders Club day was held at the home of the Mapua Stud, Andrew and Louise Christey at Southbridge.

The aim was for breeders to bring their ram hoggets, that are entered in the Canterbury Ram Fair, or their own on farm sales that have the potential to be stud sires to be seen by everyone.

There were 38 rams on display, from Blenheim in the North, to Oamaru in the South, and about 40 people, including our New Zealand President, ( judging at the Canterbury A & P Sheep Event the following day) with a number of Stud stock agents also attending.

A fantastic lunch was provided by the Club.

Thanks go to Andrew and Louise for a great day.

 

Central Southdown Breeders Club day

 

 

Central Southdown Breeders Club day

 

 

 

 

 

New Flockbook & Member Directory

Posted by The Roving Shepherd On September - 9 - 2021

The 2021 NZ Southdown Society Flockbook (Volume 90) is now available to be viewed and/or downloaded on our Flockbooks page 

Flockbook Cover Vol 90

We have also made all the breeders contact details available, so if you ate looking to source flock rams you can probably find a breeder in your area. These can be found uder the contact section in the navigation menu above or by visiting the ‘Contact the Breeders‘ page.

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.’’

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.

Playing cricket important in sheep breeder’s life

Posted by Christina 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.”

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.