Business Rural Spring 2021

20 | MEAT & WOOL » Avalon Genetics Bred tough to handle the pressure Survival of the fittest: Lambing time in West Otago. Perendale rams. Avalon Genetics encompasses two farms – Avalon and Bonnieview. Avalon is home to Ultimate and Texel Studs, Bonnieview operates Perendale and Suftex studs. Richard Loader R aised under a one-drench programme and surviving under tough West Otago conditions with rolling hills that extend 400 metres above sea level, when Avalon Gentics’ rams leave home for new pastures they thrive. Located in Heriot, Avalon genetics was founded by the Richardson family over fifty years ago and encompasses two farms – Avalon and Bonnieview. Avalon is an 800-hectare organic property run by Allan Richardson and is home to Ultimate and Texel studs. Bonnieview is a 500-hectare property that, until recently, was organic but has now shifted in focus to conventional. Run by Scott and Kjirsti Walker in equity partner- ship with Allan, Bonnieview operates Perendale and Suftex studs. “The farms that our rams go to range from tough country to easy and perform well on all of them,” says Scott. “We put a lot of pressure on our sheep so that the farmers who buy our genetics don’t have to. We’re not in the game of just feeding and feeding. “We’re in the genetics business and we know if we put pressure on our animals they will perform on someone else’s farm. That’s probably where we’re picking up most of our clients, who have been taking home tremendous looking animals that aren’t performing because they are not tough enough.” Illustrating his sheep’s toughness, Scott says they are put to work, helping with the farm’s develop- ment programme on gorse and broom, with pres- sure put on them that softer sheep just wouldn’t handle. But with an ever-reducing immune system and drench resistance for flocks throughout the country, where Avalon Genetics has shined for the last thirty years is parasite resistance and resilience. “Our lambs go under a real worm challenge right through to March and then we individually sample every ram lamb and find those lines of stock that are more resistant and resilient to parasite chal- lenges. “That has been happening for the last thirty years so we’re really seeing the benefits of it now with lines of sheep that can handle that pressure. A lot of New Zealand sheep don’t have that immune system to fight parasites so they have to be constantly drenched, which leads to resistance to drenches.” With 40 per cent of South Island farmers and 50% of North Island farmers now having known tri- ple drench resistance on their properties, increasing year-on-year, a lot of farmers are looking for options as to how they can slow that down. Avalon Genetics also puts a lot of work into achieving low dag scores, without the sheep being drenched, reducing input and costs for the farmer. Over the years lambs have also been selected for their high growth rates and perform very well in all progeny trials. “Even when compared to sheep in high input systems and up against all the other genetics in New Zealand, our sheep perform very well with growth.” Rams from both Avalon and Bonnieview are of- fered for sale during December and January. “Most of our clients are conventional farmers who are trying to reduce their inputs and are aware of our focus, particularly when it comes to parasite resistance,” says Scott. “We put a lot of pressure on our sheep so that the farmers who buy our genetics don’t have to.” With our Case CX26 and CX130 diggers we offer a wide range of services including: We offer a shelter belt, hedge trimming/cutting and tree shear service. With an 8 metre reach, highly manoeuvrable machine with the 2.3 metre cut, and a quick and easy clean up system. We also offer a specialised digger set up on dozer tracks with a blade, auger and compactor for all your fencing requirements. • Hedge & shelter belt trimming • Drainage • Water schemes • Tile cleaner • House site preparation • Rocking requirements • 3 tonne digger hire • Lane/track building & maintenance • Tractor & tip trailer hire • House demolition • Driveway preparation • Root raking Proudly supporting Avalon Genetics Dale Paikea 027 204 2151 - Heriot