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.
name change to locks farm
At the beginning of 2023 we adopted a new name for the sheep breeding side
of our business.
‘Locks’ was chosen because it has been our home farm since 1982, a name that everybody knows, and the operating base for our ram selling. Our email address remains the same.
The reason for the change is to reflect the developing business model. For those of you who may not be aware, in 2020 we decided that after 13 years of using exclusively Wairere NZ genetics, we felt that we needed to become independent and to take advantage of the opportunity to dovetail top genetics from different top NZ flocks that complement and enhance traits we would like to fast track within our flock. An example being the 2020 import from NZ, which in addition to the Wairere NZ rams also contained 2 of the best rams on SIL for FEC. By using these rams, we are speeding up our already well-established worm resistant breeding programme, whilst not undermining the excellent
Wairere based core structure of the flock. Not being exclusively Wairere has give us the ability to cherry pick top NZ breeders best blood lines.
Why would you trust your future to an animal that you don’t know the potential of?
Industry results shows rams that are pushed using hard feed do not last and potentially suffer from damaged internal organs.
Wairere rams are not fed concentrates at all. They may be a few kilos lighter as shearlings but wait until the following year, just ask any of our clients!
Wairere UK is the largest accredited Maedi Visna and Scrapie monitored flock in the country and gives our clients piece of mind. Both MV and Scrapie are on the increase and can spell disaster if they get into your flock.
We want sheep that can handle a worm challenge and prosper. To improve the resistance of our sheep to worms we have a very strict worming policy and only worm adult sheep in exceptional circumstances. We actively select rams with good FEC gBV’s as well as dag and breech scoring all of our ewes and rams. Monitoring is done by taking regular fec samples. This is leading to lambs needing minimal worming in their lifetime, meaning less work and cost.