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Top Performing Sheep Farmers And Industry Leaders Celebrated

Top Performing Sheep Farmers And Industry Leaders Celebrated

Sheep farmers have celebrated the top performers in their industry at the Beef + Lamb New Zealand Sheep Industry Awards in Invercargill tonight.

This is the fourth year the awards have been held and Beef + Lamb New Zealand chief executive, Dr Scott Champion said the awards night was a wonderful way to showcase the sheep industry – a major contributor to the New Zealand economy.

“The industry has and continues to make huge progress – for instance, while the number of sheep has halved in the last 25 years, lamb production has only fallen by seven per cent. Improved genetics is part of this fabulous productivity improvement story and tonight’s winners are leading the way in sheep genetics.”

The award winners are…

Beef + Lamb New Zealand Genetics Awards

2015 SIL-ACE Terminal Sire for Lamb Growth – Huirimu Lamb Supreme, Focus Genetics, Peter Strawbridge, Rotorua

Waikite Station is located in the Waikite Valley between Taupo and Rotorua and home to the Focus Genetics Huirimu Lamb Supreme and Waikite Texel sheep flocks, as well as a commercial sheep flock. Waikite has a total land area of 1,089 hectares, of which 1,013 hectares is in productive pasture. The bulk of the property has easy to moderate contour. Waikitehas a good fertilizer history resulting in an average Olsen P of 26. Annual rainfall is around 1200 mm. Huirimu Lamb Supreme was a category finalist in 2013.

2015 SIL-ACE Dual Purpose for Reproduction – Nithdale Romney, Nithdale Station, Andrew and Heather Tripp, Gore

Nithdale Station is a well-balanced property of hill and flat to rolling, covering 1478 hectares. Within a diverse collection of enterprises, Nithdale Genetics comprises a combined Romney and Suffolk sheep stud. With their Nithdale Romneys, Andrew and Heather Tripp are aiming to breed a low cost maternal sheep able to handle tough environmental conditions, whilemaximising meat and wool output. The Tripps are no strangers to the Beef + Lamb New Zealand Sheep Industry Awards and were also Supreme winners at the 2014 Southland Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

2015 SIL-ACE Dual Purpose for Growth Efficiency – Blackdale Coopworth, Blackdale Stud, Peter and Marion Black, Riverton

Based at Riverton, Blacks’ Coopworth stud is one of five studs within the Blackdale operation—which, in total, incorporates 2,300 stud and 1,500 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 studCoopworth 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. Blackdale Coopworth is a returning finalist in this category.

2015 SIL-ACE Dual Purpose for Meat Yield award – Rawahi Romney, Richard & Nicky Warren, Featherston

There has been sheep farming on Rawahi in the Wairarapa since 1907, with ram breeding beginning in 1924 and the flock now comprising 3300 ewes. Sheep management policy centres on the breeding and finishing of lambs to the maximum potential seasonal conditions allow. There is a strong emphasis on clover maintenance, with the cornerstone of the grazing policy being ‘short, fresh and palatable’. Richard and Nicky Warren remain convinced the highest genetic merit belongs to sheep that cope with competition and adversity best.

2015 SIL-ACE Dual Purpose for Facial Eczema Tolerance – MNCC Coopworth, Edward Dinger, Cambridge

Edward Dinger has been breeding for facial eczema tolerance for over 30 years, showing impressive outcomes in those traits often suppressed by the facial eczema fungus. The main purpose of the ram breeding undertaken by his company, the Mid-Northern Coopworth Company, near Cambridge in the Waikato, is to optimise the profitability and survivability of sheep in the warmer, fungus-friendly areas of New Zealand. His achievements are reflected in his consistently high results in these awards.

2015 SIL-ACE Dual Purpose for Internal Parasite Resistance – Nithdale Romney, Nithdale Station, Andrew and Heather Tripp, Gore

Nithdale Station is a well-balanced property of hill and flat to rolling, covering 1478 hectares. Within a diverse collection of enterprises, Nithdale Genetics includes a Romney sheep stud, recently expanded to around 2000 ewes, since buying theWairaki Romney stud. Andrew and Heather Tripp see breeding their Romneys for resistance to internal parasites as the long-term solution to drench resistance and a dependence on animal health products. They have won this category for the last three years.

2015 Primary Wool Co-operative Dual Purpose for Wool – Blackdale Coopworth, Blackdale Stud, Peter and Marion Black, Riverton

Based at Riverton, Blacks’ Coopworth stud is one of five studs within the Blackdale operation—which, in total, incorporates 2,300 stud and 1,500 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 studCoopworth 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. Blackdale Coopworth has won this category for the last two years.

2015 AbacusBio Terminal Sire for Meat Yield – Kepler Supreme, Focus Genetics, Travis Leslie, Te Anau

The 2800 strong Kepler Lamb Supreme stud is run on Kepler Farm, alongside a Landmark commercial sheep flock of 8000 ewes and an Angus herd. The farm, located in the Te Anau Basin, has an effective land area of 1682 hectares mainly flat to rolling hill country. Managed by Travis Leslie, the aim on farm is to produce high quality genetic Lamb Supreme rams and to fatten all lambs off the ewe. Kepler Lamb Supreme has won this award for the last two years.

2015 Alliance Group Terminal Sire Gold Award for Lamb Growth & Meat Yield – Huirimu Lamb Supreme, Focus Genetics, Peter Strawbridge, Rotorua

Waikite Station is located in the Waikite Valley between Taupo and Rotorua and home to the Focus Genetics Huirimu Lamb Supreme and Waikite Texel sheep flocks, as well as a commercial sheep flock. Waikite has a total land area of 1,089 hectares, of which 1,013 hectares is in productive pasture. The bulk of the property has easy to moderate contour. Waikitehas a good fertilizer history resulting in an average Olsen P of 26. Annual rainfall is around 1200 mm. Huirimu Lamb Supreme is a new finalist in this category.

2015 Beef + Lamb New Zealand Genetics Dual Purpose Gold Award for Reproduction, Lamb Growth plus Adult Size and Wool Production – Blackdale Coopworth, Blackdale Stud, Peter and Marion Black, Riverton

Based at Riverton, Blacks’ Coopworth stud is one of five studs within the Blackdale operation—which, in total, incorporates 2,300 stud and 1,500 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 studCoopworth 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. Blackdale Coopworth won this award last year.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand Industry Awards

2015 Blackdale Stud Sheep Industry Supplier of the Year – Horizon Farming Limited, Waipukurau

Horizon Farming Limited is commended by their processors, Progressive Meats Ltd, for excellent on-farm practices and pushing the boundaries to enhance their systems and produce higher quality stock. Judges noted how Horizon Farming Limited is fully engaged in the value chain with their processor, understanding the market complexities post farm gate exceptionally well and producing a product fit for purpose. They have defended their Hawke’s Bay Lamb Supplier of the Year title for a second time, giving Horizon Farming three consecutive titles.

2015 Focus Genetics Sheep Industry Science Award – John McEwan, AgResearch, Invermay

John McEwan was born into the sheep industry; his family developing one of the earliest registered Romney flocks. He has been at the forefront of sheep genetics in New Zealand for over 30 years and instrumental in the setting up of the SIL-ACE genetic evaluations and the Central Progeny Test. John has a particular interest in parasite resistance traits and, liking the challenge of ‘difficult-to-measure’ traits, is currently researching the genetics of methane emissions. The judges said his work has covered a broad range of genetic fields contributing widely to farmers’ productivity gains.

2015 Primary ITO Sheep Industry Trainer of the Year – Waipaoa Station Farm Cadet Training Trust, Gisborne

Waipaoa Station Farm Cadet Training Trust has an enviable 100% graduation record. All graduating cadets from the last two years have gone on into farm employment, realising Waipaoa’s aim of producing ‘work ready’ graduates. Judges particularly noted Waipaoa’s philosophy of training highly motivated young people through the traditional values of respect, discipline, personal growth and team work, fulfilling its vision to provide “New Zealand’s best pastoral sheep and beef training.”

2015 Farmlands Co-operative Individual or Business making a significant contribution to the New Zealand Sheep Industry – Errol Holgate (posthumously), Dunedin

Errol Holgate inspired generations of farmers to achieve higher standards. He was involved early on with the Texel Society and provided the Texel component in the Highlander maternal composite breed. Errol was also a founding shareholder in Headwaters NZ, and a highly respected judge of stock, with years of selection having a significant impact on the national flock. Off-farm, Errol influenced many industry-good organisations through his innate ability to communicate appropriately in any situation. The judges were particularly impressed by the range of Errol’s contributions to the New Zealand sheep industry, on so many levels.

2015 Allflex New Zealand Sheep Industry Innovation award – Matt and Lynley Wyeth, Masterton

Matt and Lynley Wyeth are not followers of fashion, and couldn’t accept the increased attrition rates seen with higher lambing percentages. Lamb survival is important to them ethically and commercially, leading them to implement lambing systems not seen before on a commercial scale in New Zealand. Their latest initiative, the ‘Back Paddock’ Facebook page, comes from a passion to bridge the urban/ rural divide. The judges were impressed by the number of innovations of benefit to today’s sheep industry Matt and Lynley have introduced or further developed.

2015 Ballance Agri-Nutrients Sheep Industry Emerging Talent award – Hamish Bielski, Clinton

Hamish Bielski shows an ongoing commitment to self- improvement and participation in the sheep industry. With farm ownership their goal, Hamish, and wife Amy, are equity partners on a 300 hectare property in South Otago. Hamish also gives energy and passion to industry development through his contributions beyond the farm gate. He is deputy chair of Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s Southern

South Island Farmer Council and the Southern Texel Society. The judges were impressed by the way Hamish has been making his mark throughout his career, both on the land and through industry governance and direction.

2015 New Zealand Sheep Industry Lifetime Achievement Award – Holmes Warren, Featherston

Holmes Warren is described as the father of the modern Romney, base of the New Zealand flock. In the 1960s when others bred for wool, Holmes Warren was breeding for twinning and easy-care lambing. He was a shrewd observer of stock and a man ahead of his time. In 1970, Holmes started the Wairarapa Romney Improvement Group with John Daniell. The group is still active, through second and third generation members, so, as the judges remarked, Holmes’ work continues to have a strong influence on today’s national flock.

For profiles of all this year’s finalists, see the Sheep Industry Awards handbook 2015

ENDS

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