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Focussed Farmers Produce some of the Tastiest Lamb in NZ

Focussed Farmers Produce some of the Tastiest Lamb in New Zealand

It was third time lucky for Wairarapa farmers, Matt and Lynley Wyeth who have scooped one of the most prestigious national lamb awards - recognised for producing some of the tastiest meat in the country.

At the Beef + Lamb New Zealand Golden Lamb Awards, known as the ‘Glammies’, they won the best of breed terminal cross for their Primera/Highlander lambs.
“We have entered the competition every year for the last three years and got fourth and fifth place, so it’s been amazing to win this year and be recognised at such a high level,” said Mr Wyeth.

Over 150 farmers from all over the country entered the annual competition where all lamb entries were tested for taste, tenderness, succulence, colour, cooking loss, fluid loss, PH and yield.

Mr Wyeth says it was a very rigorous process, as they had to select 30 of their best Highlander/Primera lambs, which were then sent away for processing at Silver Fern Farms Takapau plant.

“It is amazing to win such a prestigious award but it’s not just about the placing for us, it proves consistency and we have the evidence that we are getting it right.”

The couple own Springvalley Enterprises, which is a 1000 ha hill country property that runs 12,500 stock units. They have 7000 Highlander ewes, half of which they cross with Primera rams and half with Highlander rams.

“Our breeder Focus Genetics deserves some credit for this achievement. We have been using these superior genetics for the past seven years and are really starting to see some good results” said Mr Wyeth.

“We find that Highlanders and Primeras are the best performing breeds on our hill country, all the way to getting superior product out the gate. They taste good, they yield well and have amazing fertility.”

The Wyeths usually scan over 200 percent and dock close to 160 percent, but this success isn’t achieved without hard work. They lamb their triplet ewes indoors to increase productivity.

“We scan about 1200 triplets so we have set up an indoor programme in our covered yards. We bring the ewes in around their due dates and lamb them inside. Once they have lambed we leave them in a pen for 12 hours with their lambs. This gives the ewe the opportunity to really bond with her three lambs, so she is less likely to drop any,” said Mrs Wyeth.

In 2010 the couple lost 1000 lambs in bad weather and this event prompted them to change some of their practices.

“It was absolutely mortifying that we couldn’t do anything about it. So the following year we decided to lamb our triplets indoors and I began an orphan programme where I now bottle feed all our orphan lambs on the farm.”

Mrs Wyeth says she can feed an orphan lamb for $34, so if the lamb sells well, there is still good profits to be made.

“Farming is not just about the money for us. We have moral obligations to ensure there is no waste and we aim to keep every lamb alive so we can be as productive as possible.”

Focus Genetics chief executive, Gavin Foulsham congratulated the Wyeths on their prestigious award.

“Matt and Lynley are making the most of our genetics with good on farm management practices. Their award can be attributed to their hard work and consistent results on the farm. They’re certainly getting the best out of our Highlander and Primera breeds.”


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