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Bid To Boost Perendale Performance Levels

February 20, 2006

Sheep For Profit System In New Bid To Boost Perendale Performance Levels

The Sheep for Profit system is going to be used to try further boosting the Perendale breed.

Banks Peninsula farmer Ken Elliott, who is also a member of Link Perendales, has recently become a Sheep for Profit advisor.

Link Perendales is a SIL Linked Group Breeding Scheme of advanced breeders looking at breeding for worm resistance and tolerance. Elliott believes Sheep for Profit will help refine management and get the most out of the breed. His own farm is registered on the Sheep for Profit programme.

It is the first time the Sheep for Profit system, which lifted average gross income per farm by $68,718 above the national average over four years from 2000 to 2004, will be used in a concentrated way in relation to improving the performance of a single breed.

"There is a great demand for Perendales in the South Island with many new farmers now running Perendales in substitution for other finer-woolled breeds. They will need to refine and adapt their management to get the most out of the breed. The demands faced by those in drought prone areas, in addition to cold winter/spring periods close to lambing, have their own set of challenges."

"I'm looking forward to combining my own experience with that of the disciplined approach that Sheep for Profit offers to help farmers to lift performance levels and profitability."

Elliott says after discussions with the Sheep for Profit team he realised he didn't know enough about what was happening on his own Banks Peninsula property.

"Although I believe I have high performance levels and that I'm a good stock manager, I need to know more about exactly how environmental factors are affecting production targets and how my management decisions are influencing performance outcomes. The same will apply for most farmers.

"That's quite a big thing for farmers to have to admit, but when you've got a quest to 'up the anti' – to really go for the next level – there will be things you're doing in your current system that are limiting you.

"The additional information provided by Sheep for Profit can show two things. Firstly an early warning, or recognition, that there could be substantial risk in what's likely to happen, and secondly where there are areas for potential improvement.

"You can only find these things by measuring what is going on in the business and then you can proactively manage according to the results."

With Canterbury farmers starting to feel the effects of drought, Elliott says well informed and proactive stock management can help reduce the impact of some environmental challenges.

"Although Canterbury is not facing a serious drought at this stage, farmers have to watch the situation closely.

"If I ranked the droughts in the 20 years I've been farming here, there were two that you might say were 10 out of 10. I'd say this present drought is probably getting towards a 7.5 or 8 in terms of severity and that presents challenges for us.

"While it's a dry summer now, we also have to battle big snows, or late snows, that suddenly present stock management challenges. The type of information Sheep for Profit derives lets us know exactly where we are with our livestock, allowing us to be pretty proactive in managing some environmental effects."

Elliott graduated from Massey University with an animal science degree and spent his early career years as a scientist at the Whatawhata Hill Country Research Station before moving on to the Wool Research Organisation of New Zealand. While there he gained a PhD in management systems from Lincoln University.

A career change saw him become a wool exporter and establish Perendale Wool Exports. Elliott has also run his own Perendale sheep farm on Banks Peninsula for the past 22 years.


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