Business Rural Summer 2021

12 | MEAT & WOOL » Waterton Stud Waterton genetics Sue Russell The lambs are Suffolk and Charollais cross twin lambs at tailing. C hris and Annabelle Hampton own and operate Waterton Stud, at Cave, 23km north-west of Timaru. Their property extends over a total land footprint of 950 ha, 130 ha of which is a leased block next door. Chris’s father Peter imported six Suffolk ewes in 1970 and established Waterton Stud in 1971. The original stud was farmed on the Hampton family farm in coastal Mid Canterbury. When that farm was sold in 2008, the stud shifted to where it is now with Chris and Annabelle taking over 12 ½ years ago. Waterton Stud comprises 500 ewes over three breeds and another 2,700 commercial ewes. Right on the top of the farm, the land is flat and home to the bull beef unit of 120 Friesian bulls. At the Waterton ram sale in December 2020, one ram was sold to an English Suffolk breeder. Chris says the breeder was keen to purchase a New Zea- land bred and reared ram given our pasture-based feeding and the ease at which ewes lamb. “He bought it sight unseen, just saw it on-line and decided that was the one. It’s quite a coup re- ally. Before flying to the UK via Singapore the ram was quarantined in the North Island.” Chris is convinced that Charollais, a breed that originates from France, is the breed of the future. “The big thing with the Charollais is ease of lambing and very good growth rate. They are ideal for hogget mating with their low birth weight and rapid growth. They are a meat breed and their genetics are being used extensively to cross-breed with other New Zealand sheep.” Charollais sheep are primarily a terminal breed. They excel on converting pasture into premium growth and high meat yields. The breed was first introduced into New Zealand in 2009 and since that time there have been regular importations of embryos, semen and live animals. “At birth lambs are straight on their feet and thrive from day one.” When Rural South spoke with Chris early September, lambing of the stud flock had been underway a week with the commercial flock due to start lambing. “This farm is fairly exposed. The commercial ewes are not shepherded at lambing. If we do get a storm going through we just make sure the sheep are in the gullies, then they look after themselves.” Having pockets of steep land has created a flock that Chris describes as very fit and agile. A fair proportion of the really steep land has broom, gorse and natives growing. The annual ram sale gets under way on De- cember 14. The sale is run as a helmsman auction (silent auction). All rams are on the market at the same time so clients can bid on numerous rams anywhere in the catalogue. “The sale runs for about 1 ½ hours and closes when there are no more new bids on any rams. It is buyer friendly with BBQ’d lamb and refreshments served while the auction is on. We really enjoy the atmosphere.” The sale in December will be the couple’s seventh. When Chris and Annabelle first came on the farm they tended to a lot of development work. mainly new pasture and fencing. One new development is in a change in direction of the gully land; whereas before these areas would have been sprayed out, now this land is being left to naturally regenerate. “It is slowly reverting to native bush which is so nice to see; pittosporum, cabbage trees, kowhai.” Chris has introduced a native broom weevil and is leaving the native species to regenerate. Now, wood pigeons, falcons, tuis, wax eyes, bellbirds and fantails can be seen on the farm. “Our main animal pest are wallabies, so we have hunters who come through regularly to control their numbers.” The couple also find time to engage in local shows. Annabelle is an accomplished horse judge and Chris judges the sheep. It’s an activity the couple both enjoy. Chris is also Vice-President of the McKenzie AMP society. He is also Chair of Charollais Genetics NZ, a group intent on promoting the breed more in the commercial sense. “The big thing with the Charollais is ease of lambing and very good growth rate. They are a meat breed and their genetics are being used extensively to cross-breed with other New Zealand sheep.” “You cannot beat NZ Wool it is naturally grown from grass” PROUD TO BE ASSOCIATED WITH WATERTON STUD Main West Coast Road, Yaldhurst, RD 6, Christchurch 7676, New Zealand Phone: +64 3 342 6223 Email : Web: 8thWaterton Ram Sale Charollais, % Charollais, Suffolk and South Suffolk Rams THELARGESTOFFERINGOFCHAROLLAIS AND CHAROLLAIS X IN CANTERBURY 19 Pure Charollais – 40 Suffolk – 20 South Suffolk – 16 Charollais Suffolk – 16 Percent Charollais Hazlett Snow Buckley 027 561 4652 PGGW Greg Uren 027 431 4051 Chris Hampton 03 614 3330 027 202 5679 Hazlett Wayne Andrews 027 484 8232 PGGW Simon Eddington 027 590 8612 Also on Viewing from 2.30pm Helmsman Sale 4.00pm Tuesday 14 December 2021 Belmont Station, 50 Kerr Road, Cave, South Canterbury - Hill bred - Commercially farmed - SIL recorded - Eye Muscle Scanned - Brucellosis Accredited - Over 60 years breeding For more information or a catalogue, contact: Find us on Facebook: Waterton Sheep Stud