I am an honest straight up ram breeder: no gimmicks, no self serving slant, no bullshit. Regarding my Southdown 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. We’re not a hobby ram breeder with a large commercial flock making our money; we specialise in breeding rams, so they have to perform as it’s our livelihood!
Extensive performance recording: 50 plus years of it. Everything is weighed at weaning and again 6 to 7 weeks later, eye muscle scanning for close on 10 years now and of course fertility recording. All this allows us to breed and bring to you a sound, high growth and high meat yielding ram that matures eearly ie the first lambs to the works (the uniqueness of a southdown).
All flocks SIL performance recorded: We upload and download all our data ourselves and, as such, I can produce a report on my Southdown 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.
Sires DNA profiled for footrot and cold tolerance: We have been testing all sires for the last 8 years with most 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 , where in the past we have assisted in footrot and cold tolerance trials and a longevity trial. 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 Southdown 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.
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.
Early Lambs off Mum: You can’t beat a southdown if you want lambs killed off mum as early as you can, they may not be big, but they weigh. The good southdowns, while much bigger these days, are still quick maturing. Southdown X lambs are more likely to kill when it goes dry. In my view a prudent farmer will put at least a percentage of their ewes to a southdown. Growth rates and meat yield: Eye muscle scanning for close on 10 years. Only sires very good on both traits are used.
Constitution: Our southdowns have guts, they have bone, they don’t pack it in, they last: if you have bought some gutless ones in the past, I can assure you our southdowns will go the distance. All sires DNA profiled for footrot and cold tolerance.
We are committed to breeding Southdowns that:
Mature early, so as many lambs as possible can be drafted off their mothers. This is the truly unique feature of a southdown, you won't find another breed that will beat a good southdown, we focus on maintaining this trait. Waidale 712-05 to the right was a good example of this, as good a southdown as I ever seen let alone bred, early maturer, but loads of muscle. Have good hindquater, loins and spring of rib. We have been eye muscle scanning for many years now. Waidale 712-05 pictured right if you want an example of great hindquarter, hes dead now but he bred well and left a long lasting impression on our flock.
Rams with a tolerance to footrot and cold, we have DNA profiling all sires of all breeds for 10 plus years now. We have come a long way with the southdowns in terms of footrot, but it is difficult with small flocks as you always buying in someone elses ram every coupler years. I have been trying in vein to date to make it compulsory for all breeders to DNA profile all sires used in stud, I will keep trying to get this. We have used a number of southdowns that profile 1,1. Waidale 735-09 below, I kept, who I am very proud of, he again is the type of southdown I am trying to breed, extremely well muscled, awesome hindquarter, clean, quick maturing. He bred bloody well.
872-14 below, probably second or third best southdown bred to date. The three best being 712, 735 and 872. 872 I sold for $8000 at Christchurch Stud fair 2015, 2nd top price, I have a fair number of sons by him my 2016 on farm sale.