I am an honest straight up ram breeder: no gimmicks, no self serving slant, no bullshit. Regarding my rams, what I say, what you see, is what you get. Breeding a bloody good sheep is becoming secondary to the marketing spin that is used to sell it. I am not a hobby ram breeder with a large commercial flock making our money; I specialise in breeding romney rams, so they have to perform as it’s my livelihood, if you don't trust your ram breeder, you shouldn't buy rams off him!
Extensive performance recording: 50 plus years of it. Everything is weighed at weaning and again 6 to 7 weeks later, eye muscle scanning for 10 plus years now, 30 week wool weights and of course fertility recording. All this allows me to breed and bring to you a sound high fertility, high growth and high meat yielding romney ram with good wool.
All flocks SIL performance recorded: I upload and download all data myself and, as such, I can produce a report on my romney rams tailor made to the client’s needs if required. If anyone has any special needs, let me know I will ensure the appropriate report is readily available to you. You also have the actual data relevant to all the BVs provided. (note lincolns are not on SIL).
Sires DNA profiled for footrot and cold tolerance: We have been testing all sires for the last 10 plus years with all sires at the top end of the scale.
Pocket Pc: This rides in the bike, everything is tagged at birth (not left till tailing or on an unreliable Dna test). Any poor mothers, poor milkers, poor constitution, assisted lambing etc is recorded on the Pocket PC and later uploaded to the computer. This translates into reliable SIL figures (as accurate pedigrees) and this accurate recording allows me to be confident that I only retain genuine easy care sheep as any problem sheep are accurately recorded and can’t slip through the system.
Scientific Research: Most of our involvement is through Lincoln University or Ag research, through beef and lamb, where in the past we have assisted in footrot and cold tolerance trials and a longevity trial. We have done meat yield and growth trials and are an active participant in the Romney NZ meat yield trial, now in the North Island that has been running for many years now. Last coupler years been involved in some fly research work. All this ensures that we are aware of the latest research and are ready to uptake any meaningful scientific developments that will improve our flocks.
Stockmanship: Fast becoming a lost art, a lot of breeders are relying solely on performance data. You need a combination of both to breed good romney rams. I still cull everything on visual appraisal first, I cull for eyes, colour, pasterns, legs, poor hindquarter, heavy shoulders, teeth, poor wool, poor loin etc; (I am always doing this); all such bad traits if not culled for, will, I guarantee you, lead to a decline in the productivity of your flock in the long term. Good stockmanship is vital if you are to breed stock with good ongoing productivity; without it, after the hybrid vigour is gone, your productivity will decline I Guarantee it!!!!! I consider this the most significant advantage we have over many breeders.
Worm Resistance: Our ewe flock never gets drenched and we practice an extended drenching programme with all young stock we retain. I am not sure how long I have been doing this now, its probably 10 years now,
Hindquarters: I seriously believe that you will struggle to find romneys anywhere in the country that consistently have as good a hindquarters as what I have in my romneys. It was something my father was big on and something I place considerable emphasis on; this not only translates into more meat, but also ease of lambing as bigger pelvic structure to allow lambs out. Don't take my word for it, come and have a look for yourself!!!! Its the one thing that I can categorically say that my rams (in all breeds) as a line, will have better hindquarters than you will find anywhere.
High Fertility: Our romney ewe consistently wean in excess of 150%, in recent years 160 Further two of the very fertile romney rams involved in the trials to find the so called “wishart fertility gene” namely Tresco 148-03 and Blythburn 1388-04, I have owned, so those genetics are in my flock. I have slowly built on that by using only good fertility rams. For 15 years or more now I have culled any ewe that has two singles in a row. Yes slow sustainable genetic gain, science shows 2.5% is sustainable.
Survivability: I have been culling poor mothers and assisted lambers for what seems forever, I have a genuine easy care flock. My lamb losses from scanning to weaning fluctuate annually, approx, between 10 and 20%.The Flock’s not unsheperded, as I need accurate pedigrees, but any problem ewes are culled, which I might add are very few these days. Recent times I purchased a ram from a flock that ranks very highly, if not first most of the time, on SILACE for survivability, so as that ram has surprisingly bred very well, our genetics in terms of survivability should only get even better.
Longevity: we only ever bank on replacing a max of 25% of the romney flock, a significant cost saving when your ewes keep on keeping on. This is something is big cost particularly with composites. It is something that a lot of breeders are starting to make more notice of because it is a significant cost.
Growth rates: An animal with good growth rates is logically less hindered by worms. The pointless “wormstar” test ( in my opinion) as it is primarily about growth rates, which is what we focus on. Waidale 5-05, did 450grams a day for 8 weeks as a lamb!. He among other things has passed on this growth trait. On top of this Waidale 81-06 , who was in the RNZ meat yield trial 08, interalia came out number 1 on weaning weight of his progeny and on age at drafting (i.e. youngest to reach kill wgt). In more recent times 984-12, is leaving very compact grunty sheep but with good growth rates. I continue to build on these rams and I would like to think I have done so.
Type of Sheep I want to Breed: A lot of breeders seem to be unsure of what type of sheep they are trying to breed, I am NOT. I no longer am trying to reduce the size of any of my breeds, I want keep animals weights as they are, but do it with a more compact thicker deeper, gruniter and smaller sheep, but NOT LIGHTER and keep these growth rates right up there!! I think this means not only do we have a meaty sheep with growth rates, but generally we will have a more efficient sheep with constitution that will handle the country that the expansion of dairy farming has forced sheep back on to. Moreover, I think I am beyond trying, I am succeeding in breeding this type of sheep.
We are committed to breeding:
Romneys with good hind quarters, loins and spring of rib, so that the rams we bred reflect what the market wants. Deep Grunty sheep!
Rawahi 984-12 Very good middle of the Road ram, with a good fleece, good colour, good on his legs, not a big sheep, but best of all comes with good sil figures, particularly early growth, and survival bvs, well link us strongly into SIL ace, used three lambs by him this year. This ram I used again in 2016, which is a rarity for me to use a ram two years let alone 3 in a row, he really has bred well, very good doing sheep, grunty, deep.
Keeper Waidale 222-13 Br/Rr 2/2. Sire: Ram Hill 621-10 Tw. 30 wk flc wt 6.16kg: 100 day wt 32.73 200 day wt 55.80kg: SIL: wwtbv 3.99 rank 15; Lw8bv 8.13 rank 21; emabv 2.07 rank 58; nlbbv 16.6% rank 164; fw12bv 0.33 rank 154: DPP 1526 rank 22/505. He has bred particularly well in 2015 with a good hunk of sons being offered for sale by him in 2016. all have plenty of meat.
Romneys that not only have high growth rates from birth to weaning to 200 day, but throughout are ready to kill, in otherwords lambs that finish.
Romney ewes that wean at least their body weight or better
Romneys that not only attain good weaning weights, 200 day weights, but continue to grow, so that you will always have good size capital stock, and not get caught in the ever decreasing spiral of smaller and smaller sheep. As I said above, I am not trying to reduce weight at all, but trying to obtain the same with more compact thicker deeper gruntier sheep, in all my breeds, not just romneys.
Romneys that have the constitution to handle all conditions.
Romneys that clip heavy quality wool. The emphasis being on weight, quality and length of staple for second shearing. Wool ironically as at Jan 2016 is the one real positive in the sheep industry. Thankfuly as a romney breeder its something that I have always focused on in my breeding programme and accordingly if you want good quality wool, medium with weight, then you can get from a waidale ram.