Business Rural Spring 2021

| 47 Breeding tough sheep in tough country Photos: Blair and Jane Smith along with children Henry, George and Charlotte. All Newhaven Perendale sheep need to be hardy and robust to perform in the hills of the Kakanui ranges, North Otago. Freshly weaned lambs off the hills of Newhaven, where weaning can take place 4 -5 weeks earlier than planned in drought years. Richard Loader H aving the responsibility for producing genetics for 250,000 lambs born every spring with Newhaven bloodlines is a challenge that Blair and Jane Smith relish. Producing robust sheep in tough conditions is in their DNA. From their base of nearly 2,000 stud Perendale ewes on the often snow-capped tussock blocks and pastures in North Otago’s Kakanui range, Newhaven Genetics supplies rams to farmers from the deep south, the North Island and into Australia. Blair and Jane say they are proud to also be de- livering a robust Newhaven Romdale and Newhaven Perendale-Texel to the market. Demand for the Newhaven Romdale has been driven by farmers who asked the Newhaven team to infuse the toughness of the Newhaven Perendale into an open-faced hill country Romney. Blair says hill country farmers wanted to source a Romdale from Otago hill country conditions rather than a high-drench, often intensive North Island environment. “They want genetics that are born and bred under the tough Newhaven conditions. That’s a reflection of the demand for genetics sourced from a large scale, high altitude, nil-drench regime. Just like our Perendale clients, farmers with Romdale and Perendale-Texel flocks want tough, low-input genetics that can hack it and perform in harsh conditions.” Six hundred stud ram hoggets are run in one large flock over winter at 580 metres above sea level on the 1500-hectare Newhaven operation. A genuine case of survival of the fittest, Blair says there can be no passengers on a farm. Every sheep has to perform and pull its weight. Jane adds that lambing time is no different and Newhaven wants ewes that can get through a tough winter, deliver live twins on the ground in cold con- ditions that have fast growth rates pre weaning. “This mirrors the conditions that our clients require their genetics to perform in.” It was 25 years ago that the Newhaven stud commenced a nil drench regime, with further resil- ience through two decades of DNA testing for both cold tolerance and foot score, in order to produce sheep with a high degree of resilience against foot rot. “With our scale and our ruthless culling, our clients can be assured that only the best genetics make it through to the sale team in February each year,” says Jane. “We have the scale of a large stud, but the MEAT & WOOL » Newhaven Genetics benefit of being the ones on the ground, in the yards and woolshed actually doing the culling ourselves, unlike a corporate ‘paint by numbers’ stud operation where decisions are often made on a spreadsheet. Stockmanship is still our number one priority. Tough, resilient, high performing sheep from a tough environment, run in big mobs by family owner-operators — it’s a win-win for our clients.” The Newhaven team have a selling season that starts in late January and goes through to March, allowing them to spend time with each client while they choose a ram team that is individually suited to their farm and flock needs. 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