Southdown Sheep Society, NZ

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

Archive for the ‘Breeders’ Category

Stud owners ready for a new chapter

Posted by The Roving Shepherd On March - 7 - 2022

[Story by Sally Rae]

Doug and Jeannie Brown are holding dispersal sales from their long-established Punchbowl sheep stud

Doug and Jeannie Brown are holding dispersal sales from their long-established Punchbowl sheep stud

For more than a century, the Punchbowl name has been synonymous with stud sheep breeding in North Otago.

But a new chapter is looming for its current owners, Doug and Jeannie Brown, who are holding ewe dispersal sales in Oamaru this month.

It was Mr Brown’s grandfather Henry (HJ) Andrew — a legendary figure in the stud sheep industry — who came to Punchbowl, near Maheno, in 1915 after graduating from Lincoln College.

Originally from the Leeston area, he shifted south with his parents and began breeding Southdowns. Over time, his Southdown stud became very prominent at a time when Southdowns were the main terminal sire breed in New Zealand. He exported sheep to many parts of the world and also imported sires.

In his later years, he held a very successful annual sale at the North Otago A&P showgrounds before dispersing the Southdowns in 1978. He had also established a Poll Dorset stud in 1970.

After his death in 1985, the Punchbowl property was run as an estate until 1989 when Doug and Jeannie Brown bought it.

The Poll Dorset stud was re-established while a Suffolk stud, established in 1977 by Doug and his brother Andrew, was transferred to Punchbowl.

Numbers were built up through the 1990s to give more selection pressure and, in 2000, Texel sires were purchased to establish both the Suffolk-Texel and Poll Dorset-Texel studs. Stud ewe numbers peaked at 1300 in 2017 when just short of 2000 stud lambs were tagged.

About 150 Suffolk ewes and 400 Suffolk-Texel ewes will be on sale at the Waiareka saleyards, in Oamaru, on February 15, starting at 1pm, along with ewe lambs and stud sires.

The following week, on February 22, 80 Poll Dorset ewes and 500 Poll Dorset-Texel ewes will be offered, along with ewe lambs and stud sires.

Mr Brown, who acknowledged he was probably always destined
to be a farmer, said one of his farming highlights had been moving to Punchbowl.

He also recalled topping the trifecta of stud ram fairs in New Zealand — the North Island, Christchurch and Gore sales — for Suffolk rams one year.

There had been many changes in the industry over the years and, probably the biggest change for the Browns had been the move into cross-breeding.

The decline in sheep numbers, particularly in North Otago, had affected ram sales although they were now selling over a wider area, including clients in the Strath Taieri. Rams would still be available for sale next year.

Mr Brown has had a strong industry involvement, including with Federated Farmers, as a farmer-elected director of Alliance Group from 2001 to 2015 and as a long-serving Otago regional councillor, stepping down in 2019. It was probably winning the grand final of the Young Farmer of the Year contest in 1984 that gave him some profile which led to other opportunities, he said.

With the couple’s two children, Simon and Alice, not pursuing careers in farming, it was time to move on to the next chapter in their lives, they said.

Agents were reporting strong interest in the sales and it was a time where good lamb prices were being achieved, there was grass around and the outlook for sheepmeat was also strong, Mr Brown said.

Mrs Brown, who did not come from a farming background, had provided strong support. She also works part-time in Oamaru as a physiotherapist.

She laughingly recalled how her rural knowledge had a “watershed moment” back in 1996 when her husband headed overseas for a six-month Nuffield scholarship.

It was in the days before cellphones, she was at home with a 6-year-old and a 4-year-old, and the farm worker left.

Mr Brown travelled throughout Europe and the United Kingdom, looking at the meat industry, while his wife figured out how to fix leaking troughs and deal with problematic electric fences.

“I’m not sure what he learnt, I reckon I learnt more at home here,” she laughed.

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.”

Time to get out of the stud game after 50 years of sheep breeding

Posted by The Roving Shepherd On December - 22 - 2021
Cust farmers Colin and Liz Smith are holding a dispersal sale for their Bankhead dorset down stud after 50 years of sheep breeding.

Cust farmers Colin and Liz Smith are holding a dispersal sale for their Bankhead dorset down stud after 50 years of sheep breeding.

Colin and Liz Smith have made the big call to exit stud breeding after 50 years.

A question from their stock agent Anthony Cox about whether they wanted to sell their Bankhead Dorset Down stud planted the seed.

They had talked about this before, but the difficult parting was never going to be a simple exercise. For a start, there’s a lot of history attached to number 46 in the stud book for the breed.

Colin Smith says the more they thought about it, the more they became convinced the time was right.

The crunch came at lambing time this year, he says.

Colin (74) had a ewe with twin lambs which were not drinking. After several hip and back operations, he struggled to get them on to the trailer and that made the decision easy for him.

“I thought this is hopeless and we can’t carry on like this, so that was the confirmation we had to do something. It would’ve been nice for someone to come in and buy the stud, but that was not meant to be and Coxy is very enthusiastic about this sale.”

So on January 21 they will bid farewell to the stud flock at a dispersal sale. Just over 90 mixed-age ewes, 23 two-tooth ewes and 38 ewe lambs will go under the hammer.

Colin’s father, Andrew, bought ewes from the Boyd-Clark family in Blenheim and registered the stud in 1964, after starting a southdown stud in the 1940s.

Colin can recall them as being big, upstanding animals, and marvelling at their ease-of-lambing in the early 1960s.

He says the Dorset Downs were virile animals, producing lambs with “get up and go”. They were bigger framed sheep then and produced larger lambs.

Equally, the Southdowns were renowned for producing twins and triplets.

Commercial clients would often buy two of each, to get more meat on their mainly Corriedale or Romney flocks, he says.

He was a late starter to sheep breeding as tractors were his first passion. When his brother moved to dairying, Colin slotted into this role in his 30s.

“I gradually came to like what I was doing by default. We ran Corriedale sheep plus the two studs — the Southdowns and the Dorset Downs. We put the Southdown over the Corriedale ewe and I kept the Corriedale flock going too of course. I got to quite enjoy the sheep.”

Romneys were later run at Bankhead as they found the first cross Romney-Corriedales were suited to the wetter ground. Romney rams were put over Corriedale ewes until 10 years ago when they phased this out.

Colin always felt the Southdown was better for producing fat lambs for the straight Corriedales and the Dorset Down for the Romney-Corriedales.

When his father died in 1972, Colin took over the studs and, eventually, put his own stamp on the sheep.

That was the year he and Liz got married. Both of her parents had been on farms and it was an easy transition moving from Christchurch to West Eyreton and later to Bankhead.

“The Dorsets I always thought were big, almost bad-tempered, and they were in that day, they were pretty fiery,” says Liz. “I was used to that as I had spent a lot of time on farms so it was no new thing really.”

Colin can remember struggling to keep the first ram hoggets in the yard, as they would just jump over the rails. Over the course of 50 years they’ve watched them transform into the sheep they are today.

Colin feels strongly that studs should be working first and foremost for commercial farmers.

He is proud of the many show ribbons they’ve won over the years, without losing sight of the fact that the animals need to perform on farms.

Whether in the showring or the salesyard, his competitive instincts pushed him to be the best he can. That stems from his rugby-playing days, when the Oxford senior side had three All Blacks.

“You are trying to breed the perfect sheep but you never do. There’s no perfect animal like there’s no perfect human being.”

Bankhead has been scaled down over the years with the Smiths only farming 110ha now, and a nephew leasing half of this.

A heritage home of seven bedrooms dating back to 1865 — first built by the Garlands — was burnt down in 2011.

Colin and Liz were in Akaroa at the time when the blaze ignited at 2am from recently-installed faulty wiring. Just about all their possessions, including stud records, were lost, and a new home has since been built.olin’s grandfather bought the property in 1911. His father took this on in 1947 after adding another dry land property on 160ha of flat land at West Eyreton in 1929, where sheep were mostly run.

Cows were milked at Bankhead until the year 2000 when a successful partnership of 25 years between Colin and his brother was dissolved.

The brothers basically swapped farms, with Colin and Liz moving to Bankhead. The first thing they did was convert it to a sheep farm when everyone else was moving in the opposite direction.

“It was very much [unusual], but it was such a practical way of dealing with the situation both families were in, really. I never liked milking cows anyway as in my school years I would be coerced to come over here for milking in the weekends and never enjoyed it.”

The Downs provided good sheep country and a 30ha block over the road was reserved for beef cattle. Colin continued the Southdown stud until 2007, when it became obvious that the farm wasn’t large enough to run two studs successfully.

“Southdowns were popular at that stage and they still are, and it seemed the natural thing to do just to keep one of the studs for management’s sake and for commercial sense really. The commercial flock was bringing in the money and we cut the studs back a bit so we could send more lambs to the works.”

About 150 ewes and older rams were sold on the day. This genetic base had produced champion rams and ewes at the Canterbury A&P Show through the late 1990s to the early 2000s.

Colin’s perhaps most proud of working to improve the hindquarters of his Dorset Downs.

“The Southdown always had good hindquarters and they were renowned for that, and when we sold the Southdowns I wanted to reach that with my Dorset Downs. I think we’ve come some way to doing that and improve that in that area in tune with what the market requires now. They’re as good a meat breed terminal sire as you can get.”

When they first started they were fortunate to reach a lambing percentage of 110%, and now it’s at 140% for the stud flock.

A Dorset Down ram made the record price of $17,500 in 2019 at the combined Gums and Bankhead Ram Sale with the Stevensons. Sadly, the sire died suddenly and even though they’ve had their own similar stories, that still doesn’t sit well with them.

The Dorset Downs have won their fair share of ribbons too and more lately — the Smiths won the silverware for the best meat breed ewe hogget and champion Dorset Down ram at the Ellesmere A&P Show.

So they’re leaving on good terms, knowing their stud sheep are at their best.

Without family to carry on the stud it’s an easy decision. Their son is a professor of agricultural economics at the University of California, Davis in the United States, and their three daughters have moved in different directions.

Colin says they’re happy they followed their passion. That said, they hope a future Smith will take on Bankhead to carry on the family legacy when they’re ready to move on.

Liz says they’re not sure what’s ahead of them, but one door always opens when another shuts.

She says it’s time to stop with Colin reaching 75 next year.

“That’s the thing: you either pull the pin and have a life or just keep going. I think if you’re wise you keep notice of these things.”

On one level, Colin’s happy to see the genetics being passed on to other farmers to keep the breed going.

“The fact of the matter is I have to face facts and can’t keep going like this. It’s going to happen this year, five years or whatever. So why not now while our stud’s in a good a position it has even been?”

[Story by Tim Cronshaw]

Chisholm getting a real buzz out of breeding Southdown sheep

Posted by The Roving Shepherd On December - 15 - 2021

[Story by Sally Rae]

Southdown breeders Matt Chisholm (left), of Omakau, and Dave Robertson, of Oamaru

Southdown breeders Matt Chisholm (left), of Omakau, and Dave Robertson, of Oamaru, discuss the attributes of the breed. 

Matt Chisholm is the new ram on the block in the world of stud sheep breeding – and he could not be happier.

On Monday, Chisholm – a familiar face on television and an advocate for mental health, having publicly opened up about his struggles with depression – will head to North Otago to sell a ram from his newly established Southdown stud The Land.

The Cordyline Southdowns ram fair will be like no other, held in the grounds of Brookfield Park, a Heritage New Zealand category 2 listed property which featured in the New Zealand House and Garden tour in 2019.

Built on the outskirts of Oamaru by renowned local architect Thomas Forrester for original owner John Gilchrist, the first mayor of Oamaru, it is now owned by Jennifer (JJ) Rendell, who since buying the property in 2003 has created an imaginative garden retreat surrounding a restored Victorian homestead.

Cordyline Southdowns, owned by North Otago couple Dave and Abby Robertson, will offer about 40 rams. There are also six entries from John and Margaret Macaulay’s Tahrua stud in South Canterbury, and Chisholm’s solitary offering of a ram he has dubbed Blair, after prominent Southdown breeder Blair Robertson.

“I’m not sure if it’s an exciting day for … Blair, he doesn’t really know what’s coming. It’s a hell of an exciting day for me because I’m going to market and really going to test where we’re at,” Chisholm said.

Chisholm, who grew up in Milton and Oamaru, had had a longtime interest in livestock and said it was now a privilege to be part of the stud breeding world.

“I was always going to be some kind of farmer, in inverted commas. I was always going to come back to some small amount of land. I couldn’t shake it, as much as I tried. I couldn’t get away from it,” he said.

During the latter stages of living in Auckland, when he was battling with since much-publicised depression, he would “get on Google and research up the wazoo”.

He had always liked the look of Southdown sheep and, after reading their story, fell in love with the old pure breed which had “stood the test of time”.

The Southdown is the oldest of the terminal sire breeds in the United Kingdom, and originates from the native sheep which have roamed the South Downs in the South of England for many hundreds of years. It was developed into a fixed type in the 18th century.

Chisholm had discovered the breed was “making a real comeback”, particularly for hogget mating, and he also had less-commercial reasons for wanting them in his paddock.

“For me, it’s basically about looking after myself and my mental health. I just want to walk around them and feel good about looking at good animals. They’re really commercially viable, it’s ticking all my boxes,” he said.

Chisholm and his wife Ellen are living in Omakau with their two young sons Bede and Finn, and baby daughter Bree who arrived in early October. They are building a house on their 29ha block of land at Chatto Creek, in the heart of rural Central Otago.

Chisholm founded his stud with the purchase of six ewes from Blair and Sally Robertson’s Merrydowns stud and five ewes from the Cordyline stud. When his first ewes arrived, it was “like a midwinter Christmas” for him.

Admitting to having an obsessive nature, no longer was he going to bed thinking about what the biggest current affairs story he could tell was. Instead he was thinking about lambing percentages and the likes.

“It’s quite mad,” he said.

“Blair” the ram was the progeny of an in-lamb ewe bought from Merrydowns.

“It’s a bit unfair because I didn’t breed him. It’s got my ear tag in it, really its a Merrydowns sheep,” Chisholm said.

Originally he had planned to breed from “Blair” but he later decided to sell the ram and purchase some new blood.

Next year, he might have about 50 ewes to the ram and, in a couple of years, he reckoned he might have 15-20 rams to sell.

“All I really want to do is just do something that I love. If I can sell a couple of rams a year to real red-blooded legitimate farmers, I’ll be chuffed.”

Chisholm acknowledged he had never been happier, even if it did mean he spent “far too much time” moving a couple of rams from paddock to paddock.

He felt very grateful that he had got to a position in life where he could make a certain amount of money doing the things he needed to do, which then opened up time to hang out with his family, and his land, “and have great conversations with good buggers”.

As his “serious work” was winding down for the year, Chisholm headed to West Otago on Tuesday this week for the Merrydowns ram sale, which offered both Southdowns and Romneys.

He was already familiar with some Southdown breeders — he did a talk during a Southdown Sheep Society’s southern tour earlier in the year, and he played rugby for Lawrence with the society’s president Don Murray many years ago.

Farmers were great; they liked that he was into sheep and wanted to know why, he said. They were also great at explaining things to him and he reckoned he quadrupled his knowledge in an afternoon.

Over several cans of Coke — Chisholm has been sober for more than a decade — he talked to “a lot of good buggers”— “mixing with my clan”, as he put it — and, as he drove away, he realised that was why he had “come home”.

Chisholm was delighted to be taking part in the Cordyline sale, saying Dave Robertson had “all the knowledge”, produced really good sheep and it was being held in a great location.

“I feel just bloody chuffed that he’s not laughed me out of the province and he’s invited me along.”

Veteran Southdown breeder John Macaulay was going to “bust out” his saxophone at the sale.

Dave Robertson quipped the ram sale could be “almost like a wedding”.

“I don’t know what it’s going to be.”

The motto was it was the latest version of an enduring breed.

“I can’t take any absolute credit for the stock I have, a whole lineage of Southdown breeders come before me,” he said.

It was important to keep purebred sheep “going forward” and he liked having both new breeders, such as Chisholm, and older, established breeders such as Mr Macaulay who had been involved in the Southdown breed since 1961.

For Mr Robertson, his aim was to continually try to breed better sheep while also trying to be more inclusive with other breeders.

“We need to work together to breed better sheep.

“I’ve always just tried to have an enjoyable atmosphere for myself, family and friends and ram clients. We’ve just got to keep it real. The other theme is farmers are real people, they’ve got real problems.

“[We’re] just trying to eat some genuinely good meat and see some genuinely good stock and keep everything in real time.”

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.


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‘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.