Business Rural Spring 2021

34 | ‘Passion for breeding good genetics’ Richard Loader MEAT & WOOL » Duncraigen Farm / Lauder Falls T hrashed by storms and bitterly cold souther- lies coming off the southern coast that lies thirty kilometres away, survivability is a key focus for the sheep and cattle on Duncraigen Farm. Just east of Wyndham, spring can also be a chal- lenging time on the Southland farm that belongs to the Robertson family. “It makes lambing very challenging and that is why the genetics we breed are in line with that,’ says Bruce Robertson. “Survivability is a huge thing for us. We put a lot of survivability pressure on our livestock. That is our number one focus, followed by growth rates and then worm resilience. Our drenching regime is minimal – as and when required.” Duncraigen is farmed in tandem with Lauder Falls, which is also owned by the Robertson family. Just six kilometres between them, while Lauder Falls is a high country farm, Duncraigen is gentle rolling. Collectively the farms are just on 810 hectares. In addition to a commercial Romney flock, the farm is also home to three sheep studs and a Hereford Stud. For the last eighteen years, Bruce and Carolynn have worked with Motu-nui Romney stud in the Wairarapa, one of the country’s largest recorded Romney studs. Initially buying Motu-nui ewes, today Duncraigen has 1300 recorded Motu-nui Romney ewes. “Motu-nui Romneys are just such an efficient sheep,” says Bruce. “They are compact and very, very easy doing. They have revolutionised this farm that’s for sure. Stock performance has gone through the roof since we’ve been involved with Motu-nui.” Year on year Duncraigen has exchanged rams with Motu-nui to keep improving the genetic pool but sadly, with retirement of the stud’s founder John Le Grove, Motu-nui will cease to operate and Bruce and his family will continue on their own. “We also have 160-recorded ewes, one of the largest Dorset Downs studs in New Zealand. My father brought the breed in from England origi- nally. And we have a Polled Hereford stud called Duncraigen.” Towards the end of November each year Duncraigen runs a private on-farm ram sale and this year there will be 400 Motu-nui Romney rams, 100 cross bred Texel Romneys and just under 100 Dorset Downs rams. “All the rams are SIL (Sheep Improvement Ltd) recorded and muscle scanned. The buyers will all be commercial breeders looking to improve the genetics of their own flocks, particularly in respect to survivability, high growth rates and worm resilience.” Twenty-five Hereford bulls will be sold, with a few going to dairy farmers and the balance sold in Duncraigen’s own bull sale in June. Having farmed all his life, Bruce reflects that he was fortunate to have a father who was a very good stud breeder and that may have rubbed off on him. “I just have a passion for breeding good genetics and love improving other peoples’ farming operations. I would like to think that everything we have bred has gone on to help wherever it has gone. We have clients from Canterbury, right down to Ruapuke Island in the Foveaux Strait. That has about 2500 ewes on it and we supply rams out there.” Bruce and his wife Carolynn have farmed to- gether as a team throughout their married lives. “We did all the lambing right up till when the kids were old enough to help. “The kids have worked with us all their lives and, bar one staff member, we have never employed anyone else. Hopefully that has been a good build- ing block for Marc and Casey to know what to do in the future.” In recent times Marc and his wife Jolene have taken over ownership of Lauder Falls while Bruce, Carolynn, Casey and her husband Luke look after Duncraigen. 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 Duncraigen Farm For a competitive, no obligation, free quote, contact us today! The Duncraigen team: Bruce and Carolynn Robertson (holding Jackson Caldwell) and Jonty, Casey, Luke and Charlie Caldwell. Proudly providing Duncraigen Farm with business and accounting support. The home to tried and proven genetics SILRecorded • EMAScanned Romneys, Dorset Downs, Romney-Texels, Dorset DownBeltex Easy care, high fertility & earlymaturing Rams ENQUIRES TO: Bruce&CarolynnRobertson Home: 032064894 Bruce: 0274385 131 Carolynn: 0274385 128 Luke&Casey Caldwell Casey: 021 388372 Duncraigen Farm/Motu-nui South Everyone Welcome