Business Rural Spring 2021

72 | Meat & Wool » Twin Farm Getting a ‘fresh cut out of the mob’ Katherine, Toby, Liam, Duncan and Andrew Welsh on Twin Farm. Karen Phelps right there with her lamb because we don’t want flighty ewes. We also judge on teat placement and udders. For over a decade we have completed FEC testing, loading ewe lambs up with parasites (1400 eggs per gram) and sampling to see which have the most parasite resistance and also cull based on this as we can see which sire lines and rams perform best.” Other criteria include a clear patch below the tail and short wool above the tail to reduce issues. Taste is also on their radar and they are part of the AgResearch Taste and Tenderness trial undertaken with Premier Suftex. They are also part of the Hogget 150 group, which aims to achieve 150% hogget lambing. “We know it’s an ambitious goal but we have clients achieving 100% to the ram with their hog- gets. We’re working with the best genetics and management practices to achieve the 150% goal. It’s the next step to do even better because we are always trying to improve.” A t Twin Farm it’s not a case of first come, first served. All farmers get an equal chance at buying the best genetics due to the system the family has set up for buyers. “Whenever a client comes in they get a fresh cut out of the mob, so they always get rams that haven’t been picked through. The farmer then chooses the ones he wants using the BVs, which come up on a TV screen, and the rest go out again. We repeat this process for every client so they all get a slice of the best no matter when they come to buy. We wanted to keep it fair and to encourage farmers to buy the best to drive the breed forward. Having seen the ups and downs of the industry at the moment we need to be lifting as an industry. We aim to produce the best genetics we can so our clients can get the best results,” explains Katherine Welsh. Katherine and husband Andrew farm a 680ha unit at Mandeville in partnership with Andrew’s parents Russell and Pam. The business also includes a 930ha hill block. They run 6800 ewes, 580 Red deer hinds and 140 breeding cattle. They operate two sheep studs under the brand Twin Farm. The Suftex stud comprises 550 ewes and 200 hoggets. The Welshes top cross/interbreed the Suftex to produce a black-faced sheep that is meaty and grows fast. Their TEFRom stud (Texel-East Friesian-Romney) composite comprises 850 ewes and 400 hoggets. TEFRom is a composite breed made up of 25% Texel, 25% East Friesian, and 50% Romney and the Welshes were one of the founders of the breed in 1997. At that time they had a long history of breeding high performance Romneys and sought to retain longevity, soundness, fecundity, high growth rates, wool weights, freedom from pigment and other basic faults, parasite resistance and good temperament. Andrew says that their TEFRom offer milking ability in later lactation, which allows them to grow their lambs to heavier weights. The target is to get at least half of the farm’s lambs away to the works at 88 days and 18 kilograms and is something many of their custom- ers achieve. They have lambs that are achieving 600gm of growth per day. The couple won the SIL-ACE Dual Purpose for Growth (Lamb Growth and Adult Size) for their TEFRom composite for the fastest growing dual purpose lambs in New Zealand across all breeds at the second annual Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) Sheep Industry Awards in 2017. Part of their recipe for success is to cull hard. Lamb growth and survival is key. “We really put the pressure on them. We cull the stud ewe hoggets that don’t get in lamb. We then judge their maternal instincts at tagging. To do this we go and observe the ewes to make sure she’s 2th Rams available November, Ram hoggets available mid-March 2022 $5.50 above average per lamb                                             $19 above average per ewe TEFRom - Winners of the fastest growing dual purpose lambs with ewe efficiency in 2013, 2014 and finalists at the 2015 & 2016 Sheep Awards. Over half your lambs away at 12 weeks. A stabilised composite bred commercially for over 20 years, with clients lambing hoggets at 100% to the ram. 1300 fully recorded ewes. Suftex - Interbred for an excellent marker, high growth rate and yielding over 56% in the Alliance meat yield. Members of the Premier Suftex Group. 800 fully recorded ewes. New Zealand Standard Terminal Worth New Zealand Maternal Worth with Meat (MW+W) Twin Farm Suftex NZ average Twin Farm TEFRom NZ Average