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Sheep Industry Excellence Celebrated

Sheep Industry Excellence Celebrated

The important role ram breeders play in New Zealand’s sheep industry was celebrated at the third annual Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) Sheep Industry Awards.

About 230 people attended a dinner in Napier, where 10 genetics-based awards and five sector excellence awards were presented. Results of the genetics-based awards were calculated based on ram breeders’ performance in SIL-ACE (Advanced Central Evaluation) – the large-scale, across flock and breed genetic evaluation of more than 300 ram breeding flocks.

The Blackdale sheep industry supplier of the year award was presented to Mark & Rachel and Sam & Keri Zino of Zino Holdings Limited, who are suppliers to ANZCO. Dr Neville Jopson received the Focus Genetics sheep industry science award. The PrimaryITO sheep industry trainer of the year award went to the Taratahi Agricultural Training Centre, based in the Wairarapa, while the Farmlands individual or business making a significant contribution to the New Zealand sheep industry award had two recipients this yearSteve Wyn-Harris of Hawke’s Bay and Roger Marshall of Marton. The Allflex sheep industry innovation award for 2014 was presented to Andy Ramsden of Wanaka. Within the genetics-based categories, two gold awards were presented. Mount Linton Station’s Suftex stud based in Southland received the Alliance Group Limited terminal sire overall award. The Telford dual purpose overall award went to Peter and Marion Black’s Blackdale Coopworth stud, Riverton.

B+LNZ Chief Executive Officer Dr Scott Champion says that, while the awards are only three years old, they are already a flagship event on the sheep industry calendar. “This event highlights the fantastic genetics available to New Zealand sheep farmers and how these can drive improved farm performance. It’s no wonder New Zealand is at the forefront of sheep farming internationally, with such passionate and astute individuals dedicated to progressing the genetic merit of our national flock. It’s also a great opportunity for the sector to get together, acknowledge the work of the winners and finalists, and to celebrate the sector’s contribution to New Zealand.”

Judging of the genetics-based awards was on the basis of individual animals with the highest rating or index. For each of the 10 categories, the top three rams were identified using results from the SIL-ACE evaluation and SIL standard indexes. Animals had to be in the top 25 per cent for a “basket of industry valued traits”, have been used as sires in the past three years and have a top ranking for the highlighted trait or index, as well as minimum levels of accuracy for these ratings. The Gold awards are for multi-trait index ratings – animals must be in top 25 per cent for all component traits and top in the overall index.


GOLD AWARD: Alliance Group terminal sire award for lamb growth and meat yield
Mount Linton Station, Mount Linton Suftex, Ohai, Southland
Mount Linton’s Suftex flock consists of 530 mixed-age ewes and two tooths. They run alongside the station’s commercial sheep operation of 39,000 ewes. Mount Linton’s breeding focus is to maximise returns through increased meat and growth, without compromising survival. Points to note include the fact the ewe flock is not drenched. Mount Linton has also been proactive in using CT scanning as a tool to progress selection towards animals capable of generating higher value cuts.

2nd – Kelso, Kelso Terminal, Matt Holden, Hawke’s Bay
3rd – Focus Genetics, Kepler Supreme, Landcorp, Te Anau

GOLD AWARD: Telford dual purpose award for reproduction, lamb growth plus adult size and wool production
Blackdale Stud, Blackdale Coopworth, Peter & Marion Black, Riverton
Blacks’ Coopworth stud is one of five studs within the Blackdale operation – which, in total, incorporates 2300 stud and 1500 commercial ewes. Blackdale is an intensively stocked, all-grass, all-sheep operation with a focus on breeding rams with the best genetics to achieve optimal net returns for clients. Started in 1971, there are now 215 stud Coopworth ewes – down from a high of 1200. The Coopworth stud feeds into the operation’s Texel-Coopworth bloodlines, which have grown to meet commercial farmer demand.

3rd – Twin Farm, Twin Farm TEFRom, Russell, Pam & Andrew Welsh, Gore
2nd – Nithdale Station, Nithdale Romney, Heather & Andrew Tripp, Gore

2014 Beef + Lamb New Zealand Sheep Industry Genetic Trait Awards

SIL-ACE terminal sire for lamb growth
Mount Linton Station, Mount Linton Suftex, Ohai, Southland
• Te Kawa Poll Dorset, Andrew Clifton, Kimbolton
• Kelso, Kelso Terminal, Matt Holden, Hawke’s Bay

SIL-ACE terminal sire for meat yield
Focus Genetics, Kepler Supreme, Landcorp Te Anau
• Focus Genetics, Huirimu Supreme, Landcorp, Te Awamutu
• Focus Genetics, Waikite Texel, Landcorp Rotorua

SIL-ACE dual purpose for reproduction
Nithdale Station, Nithdale Romney, Heather & Andrew Tripp, Kaiwera, Southland
• Mount Guardian, Mount Guardian Perendale, Tim Anderson, Parnassus
• Edward Dinger, MNCC Coopworth, Cambridge

SIL-ACE dual purpose for growth (lamb growth & adult size)
Twin Farm, Twin Farm TEFRom, Russell, Pam & Andrew Welsh, Gore
• Blackdale Stud, Blackdale Coopworth, Peter & Marion Black, Riverton
• Ashgrove, Ashgrove Coopworth, Maungaturoto, Northland

SIL-ACE dual purpose for internal parasite resistance
Nithdale Station, Nithdale Romney, Heather & Andrew Tripp, Kaiwera, Southland
• Mike McElrea, Gowan Braes Perendale, Tapanui

SIL-ACE dual purpose for facial eczema tolerance
Focus Genetics, Waihora Romney, Landcorp Waihora, Nightcaps
• Hinenui Genetics, Hinenui Coopworth, Brett Teutenberg, Gisborne
• Steve Wyn-Harris, Marlow Coopworth, Hawke’s Bay

Primary Wool Cooperative dual purpose for wool
Blackdale Stud, Blackdale Coopworth, Peter & Marion Black, Riverton
• Edward Dinger, MNCC Coopworth, Cambridge
• Emily & Sam Welch & Kate Broadbent, Nikau Coopworth, Tuakau, Waikato

Progressive Meats dual purpose for meat yield
Newhaven Farms, Newhaven Perendale, Jane & Blair Smith, Oamaru
• Mike McElrea, Gowan Braes Perendale, Tapanui
• Twin Farm, Twin Farm TEFRom, Russell, Pam & Andrew Welsh, Gore


Blackdale sheep industry supplier of the year
Mark & Rachel, Sam & Keri Zino (Zino Holdings Ltd), Hawarden, Canterbury – supplying ANZCO
The Zinos met - and exceeded - the strict criteria for this award. That included at least 93 per cent of their lambs meeting processor specifications and those lambs being bred and finished on their property. The judges noted that Zinos showed an exceptional focus on quality, supplying to specification and seasonal supply. They demonstrated a good understanding of market requirements and communicated well with their processor. Zinos also put a high priority on animal welfare and whole farm quality assurance.
• Dave & Kay Stanley (Rawiri Farm Trust), Taupo – supplying Lean Meats Ltd
• Horizon Farming Ltd, Stuart Ellingham (manager), Taranaki – supplying Progressive Meats Ltd
• Martina & Shaun Lawlor, Gore – supplying Alliance Group Ltd
• Bill & Sue Garland (Rahiri Farm), Cambridge – supplying Te Kuiti Meats
• Landcorp Wairio, Grant McGhie (manager), Southland – supplying Silver Fern Farms

Focus Genetics sheep industry science award
Neville Jopson, AbacusBio, Dunedin
Scientist and AbacusBio managing director Dr Neville Jopson’s unique ability to provide sound advice from both a scientific and commercial perspective was cited as the critical reason he is such a deserving recipient of this award. Neville’s direct involvement and leadership in the area of animal production has been instrumental in many of the sector’s recent technological developments. Neville was involved in setting up – and the ongoing running of – the Central Progeny Test and the recent addition of hill country sites. He was also involved in the establishment of CT technology for sheep, the Carwell gene and Lionmax, and the introduction of DXA technology to measure meat yield. He has also contributed to Beef + Lamb New Zealand Genetics and SIL-ACE progress. Neville’s wide ranging and ongoing contribution to genetic improvement has been crucial to the red meat sector’s ability to remain efficient.
• Massey University, Palmerston North
• Paul Kenyon, Massey University, Palmerston North

PrimaryITO sheep industry trainer of the year
Taratahi Agricultural Training Centre, Masterton
Established in 1919, the Taratahi Agricultural Training Centre has evolved into a major training enterprise for the New Zealand sheep and beef industry. Taratahi’s programmes involve practical, technical and theoretical study, with training carried out on commercial farms. Its residential campus is based near Masterton in the Wairarapa, with six other non-residential campuses spread across the North Island. Taratahi provides an opening to those who may not have the same opportunities as others – or a chance for young people without a farming background to gain a start in the sheep and beef sector.
• Waipaoa Station Training Trust, Gisborne
• Smedley Station and Cadet Training Farm, Tikokino, Waipukurau

Farmlands individual or business making a significant contribution to the New Zealand sheep industry
Steve Wyn-Harris, Hawke’s Bay
Steve Wyn-Harris is highly regarded as a sector communicator. He was named Landcorp Communicator of the Year in 2012 and is a popular Central Hawkes Bay radio host. Steve is an advocate for sustainable farm systems and promotes the use of sheep genetics. This award adds to previous industry accolades, including being named Ballance East Coast Environment Farmer of the Year in 2011 and Hawke’s Bay Farmer of the Year in 1994.
Roger Marshall, Marton
Roger Marshall founded Kelso in 1970 as a Coopworth flock, soon after the establishment of the breed. The flock was recorded on New Zealand’s first computer-based recording system, quickly achieving national prominence. A record sale in 1980 prompted the key decision to sell all rams “on farm” to foster closer relationships with clients, learn from them and to better understand their needs. In 1983, the Government invited Roger to select Finn, Texel and Oxford sheep with Dr Leyden Baker, and subsequently ran a quarantine station on Tutu Totara farm.
Leon Black, Riverton

Allflex sheep industry innovation award
Andy Ramsden, Wanaka
Andy Ramsden’s input to increasing the productivity of New Zealand sheep over the past 20 years has been significant. As an early experimenter with various composites, he was a driving force behind the increased use of alternative genetics in flocks. Andy joined forces with the Absolom family and others to form Rissington Breedline and the Highlander material composite was refined. With the swing to dairying pushing high-performance flocks off better country in the south, Andy saw a place for a more robust, high-performance sheep that could prosper on tougher country. With the input of several like-minded southern farmers, Headwaters NZ was created.
• Matt & Lynley Wyeth, Wairarapa
• AbacusBio Ltd, Dunedin


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