Business Rural Spring 2021

| 17 predominantly a cropping unit and grew around 220ha of crop last season – wheat, barley and white peas for dairy cow feed, maple peas destined for Asia, oats for Harroways and oilseed rape for Canterbury company Pure Oil NZ Ltd, which consumers can buy as The Good Oil at retail outlets. The farm also includes a small bull beef com- ponent, which are outsourced and hand reared on farm. This sees them sell around 75 animals each year. They also have a successful plant nursery, tucked away in one edge of the farm, and have been selling plants by wholesale and retail to all corners of New Zealand since 1985. These days all sales are made via an online shop www.ashton- Succession planning is on the family’s mind and both Ross and Ruth admits it’s not an easy task. “It’s like eating an elephant with a teaspoon,” says Ruth. “There are significant financial respon- sibilities involved making it difficult for the next generation to take over if they want to. Everyone’s recipe for succession planning is personal – it’s not like people discuss it openly – so we have to rely on professional advice then decide if what they are suggesting will work for us.” The family is gearing up for its 2021 ram sale in early December where they will offer a good selection of two tooth rams to the market including Coopworth, Beltex-Coopworth, Beltex-Suffolk and Beltex-Suftex. There will be around 50-60 rams offered in total. Three breeds now a focus for sheep stud Karen Phelps A shton Glen Genetic Sheep Stud is focusing on Coopworth, Suffolk and Beltex going forward recognising the superior benefits that both these breeds bring to farmers in terms of growth and meat yield. “Coopworths are productive, easy to handle, great mothers producing lambs that survive, grow fast and yield. We get 170% plus each year in the tailing pen. Beltex terminal rams bring muscling into the Coopworth and Suffolk, which is a winning combination,” says Ross Mitchell who owns the farm with wife Ruth. It was only in 2004 that the couple entered the stud breeding game: “As you do, as farmers, you observe stock and trial and dabble with different breeds. With a fam- ily history of a Suffolk stud, some Cheviots and a base ewe flock of Border Cross it was an easy step to Coopworths,” says Ross. The Coopworth stud ewes have been mated with their own and outside high rankingCoopworth rams to get strong linkages. “We work with other Coopworth breeders in pushing the boundaries and keep developing with good linkages,” says Ross. The Coopworth Genet- ics NZ group is a progressive thinking collective of breeders to belong too. In 2018 they registered a Suffolk stud along with purchasing some Suffolk and Suftex ewes (hog- gets) with the purpose of crossing with the two purebred Beltex rams they had recently purchased. A selection of the Coopworth stud ewes have gone to the Beltex rams along with the Suffolk and Suftex ewes. Interest in combining the highest- ranking dual purpose breed in New Zealand with an exciting new meat breed led to them producing New Zealand’s first Beltex-Coopworth. They say it’s produced an extremely hardy animal. “If it gets a bit of condition on then this cross holds its condition very well, even in tough condi- tions,” says Ross. In their own Coopworth commercial flock they aim for a 25% Beltex mix, which they find gives them optimum meat yield as well as slightly finer wool along with smaller tails. Their farm runs around 1000 sheep with around half of these registered in the stud. All stud animals are SIL recorded. Ashton Glen Genetic Sheep Stud’s breeding mandate is a strong structured animal with good confirmation, performance checked MEAT & WOOL » Ashton Glen Genetics on high fertility, survival, growth and meat, NIL ewe drenching policy and growing robust lambs through a selective drenching programme. All stud lambs are weighed at tailing to track the growth rates for future ram and ewe selection. Ross says that the Beltex has added a notable increase in average growth rates, kill weights and meat yield. “The local butcher was notably impressed with a 50/50 cross,” he says. Keeping all the bookwork for the stud and farm falls onto the shoulders of Ruth along with the general farm accounting requirements. Ross’ day-to-day running of the farm and is teamwork with sons Callum, 33, and Byron 32. He says that Byron’s skills are well placed in the stock side of operation and Callum has his pulse on grain side of the family business. Everyone has to pitch in as required and work in every corner of the busi- ness as necessary. Their youngest son lives in Melbourne and works with environmental water protection company Ocean Protect. Located just north of Clinton the 310ha farm is Family affair: Ross Mitchell and sons, Byron, Callum & Liam, with Ginnie the handy hound. Beltex-Suffolk cross rams. 03 203 9010 Your local transport specialist 03 203 9010 | find us on facebook | Call us today to discuss all your transport requirements Proud to be associated with Ashton Glen Genetics For a competitive, no obligation, free quote, contact us today! Harvie GreenWyatt is here to help you maintain and grow your agri business. Our rural business Partners: Doug Harvie, Craig Wyatt, Brett Challis, Robyn Friedrich and Tom Saul. professionals understand the ups and downs of farming as we deliver the full spectrum of accounting business and planning disciplines. Software solutions, including Xero, Figured, Focus and MYOB OUR BREEDINGMANDATE: • A strong structured animal with good confirmation • Preformance checked on - High Fertility, Survival, Growth &Meat • NIL ewe drenching policy • Growing robust lambs through a selective drenching programme Coopworth. Su olk. Beltex crosses over Coopworth. Su olk. Suftex. ASHTONGLENGENETICS Phone 0274 338 613 43 Blaikie Road, RD2, Clinton 9584 Byron 0273 925 199 | Ross 0274 338 613 SHE EP GENETICS, GRAIN & BEEF