Business Rural North Autumn 2021

| 17 RURAL PEOPLE » The Gullies: Richard & Laura Morrison Ethical genetics underpins farm policy Karen Phelps R ichard and Laura Morrison are in their first year of sole ownership of The Gullies, which was previously part of a larger family busi- ness. Richard says he has gone from working on a larger scale business “with a lot of people and moving parts” to a one-person operation. “It’s been rewarding because I get to do a bit of everything now and it’s created more family time and work-life balance,” he says. Richard is the sixth generation to farm the land. Laura grew up on a dairy farm so when she transitioned to sheep and beef years ago it was not a difficult shift. The Gullies is 250ha (200ha effective) and lo- cated just ten minutes drive from Marton. It includes 70ha of flats that are separated by the gullies after which the farm is named. There is 110ha of hill country and the balance in native bush making for a very attractive farm, says Richard. The farm runs 2000 stock units comprised 70% of sheep and the balance of beef. Breeds are Morrison Wiltshires, Low-Input Composites and Burbank Herefords. The farm supplies bulls to the dairy industry that provide a quality New Zealand beef alternative to using Jersey bulls. Traits focused on are soundness, temperament, low birth weight and calving ease. The farm is also registered NZ Hereford Association breeders with the cattle analysed on the Breedplan database. The Gullies owns the original New Zealand Wiltshire flock dating back to the early 80’s. They focus on the traits of soundness, fertility, growth, carcass, survivability, facial eczema and worm tolerance as well as the characteristic self-shedding traits that make Wiltshires unique. Sheep Improve- ment Limited (SIL) is used for genetic evaluations. Richard says that this validates the performance of the sheep, relative to the New Zealand sheep population. Ethical genetics is the Morrisons focus: “To us this means having the most appropriate livestock, which best utilise our natural resources and pro- duce sustainable, high-value produce with minimal interventions or synthetic additives,” explains Richard. “We run functional, fertile, athletic animals that are underpinned by the science of modern genetic breeding. These genetics incorporate desirable traits that you can’t see such as disease and parasite tolerance, survivability, growth rates and carcass traits. Less shearing, dagging, drenching “To us (ethical genetics) means having the most appropriate livestock, which best utilise our natural resources and produce sustainable, high-value produce with minimal interventions or synthetic additives.” For al l your Fer ti liser Spreading needs cal l DOUGALL PIDWELL FA S T - EFF I C I EN T - LO CA L LY OWN ED (M) 027 438 3378 (P) 06 327 4418 (F) 06 327 4417 (E) profer tspreading@gmai l .com Farm Drainage the “WRIGHT”way! 027 444 8829 and no fly strike means less animal stress and easier to care for sheep resulting in more family time.” The Morrisons are presently tweaking the farm- ing system to get it just right and then plan to lift cattle numbers. They also run an accommodation business from the farm they say helps to bridge the rural-urban divide. They have two children: Henry, 4 and new arrival Fergus, 13 weeks. This has resulted in a shift of focus for Richard who in the past was busy serving as Federated Farmers Provincial President for Manawatu/Rangitikei and was on the Beef + Lamp NZ farmer council. “Our focus now is on our young family and tak- ing our business forward.” Richard and Henry Morrison (4yrs) check on stock at The Gullies. H046825 Ethical Livestock Genetics