A family run business spanning over three farms
Joint partnership since 2001with one of the biggest stud flocks in New Zealand
We are a family run farm spread across 3 units, consisting of 6,000 high health, performance recorded, New Zealand Romney breeding ewes, on land ranging from poor chalk grassland at 900ft to very wet clay ground. All sheep are rotationally grazed on a forage based system, with ewes lambed outside with minimal intervention (less than 0.5%). Progeny are performance recorded throughout their life, including multiple weights, eye muscle & back fat scanning and DNA testing, this information is fed into the New Zealand performance recording system SIL (Sheep Improvement Limited) which produces breeding values based on the animals performance and genetic potential.
We sell shearling rams, ewe lambs, shearling ewes and mixed age ewes throughout the UK and Europe for breeding as well as some 5,000 lambs for slaughter.
how it started
Up until the early 2000’s we had been a very typical English system, running mules and Dorsets on multiple sites and lambing them inside at home very intensively. In 2001 foot and mouth struck and whilst we didn’t contract it, it did mean that stock where not able to be moved home for lambing and as such had to get on with it out in the field.
This wasn’t a complete disaster and proved to be more of a lightbulb moment for us, if we had a sheep bred to do this, then it must be the way to go. Being first time farmers and having no real breed allegiance led us to looking further afield and we had always been impressed by the extensive, subsidy free nature of sheep farming in NZ.
At first it was hard to source NZ genetics in the UK, so we began flying over semen and embryos and putting them in English Romneys and upgraded this way for a couple of years until we managed to build a relationship with Wairere NZ and in 2006 we began flying live rams over (24 to date, and another 13 in 2018).
We have never looked back and not only has our stock greatly improved so has our quality of life.
who are wairere nz
Wairere NZ (y-rere-e) station is situated in the North Island of New Zealand in the Wairarapa Hill country and has been described as “The worst climate I have ever worked in”
It is 1070 Ha of medium to steep hil country, rising to 532 meteres (1,729ft) above sea level. The climate is typically winter wet, summer dry and a class 1 wind zone with average year round wind speed of 35kph. Rainfall is 1125mm or 45 inches annually. Only 2% of the land is flat, the rest is steep banks with lambing beats done on horseback.
The Wet/cold, windchill prone climate is a serious testing ground for constitution and feet. The Wairere stud started ram breeding in 1927 and is currently one of the largest ram breeders in New Zealand, selling approximately 3,500 rams per year. It has been calculated that 1 in 7 lambs born in NZ was sired by a Wairere Ram.