Business Rural Summer 2021

| 15 MEAT & WOOL » Doughboy Romneys Hugh de Lacy Cheviot Ag Air Ltd Topdressing, Firefighting, Seeding i , i i , i Operating the 954 Fletcher ti t l t For fast efficient service contact: 027 432 5232 or 03 3198 036 | 72 Munro Road, RD2 Cheviot For fast ef cie t service co tact: 027 432 5232 or 03 3198 036 | 72 ro oa , 2 eviot W ool quality and production, no less than meat and conformation, inform Dough- boy Romney Stud’s ground-breaking genetic testing of a flock recently shifted from the Canterbury flats to the Kaikoura high country. Hugh and Diane Taylor bought the 3500ha The Doone station on the inland road between Kaikoura and Waiau in 2014, and made the startling decision to move their Romney stud and commercial enterprise there from a mostly flat 360ha near Oxford. A core part of the Taylors’ breeding policy is that their Romneys are able to thrive with mini- mal inputs in any location under myriad seasonal and pasture management conditions, and shifting them from the low to the high country offered the ultimate test of their shiftability. The Doone rises from 250m to 8500m above sea-level, most of it medium to steep, but with about 200ha of the effective 2700ha cultivable. At the time the Taylors bought it, The Doone was run-down and undeveloped, with only half a dozen paddocks and a pH of 5.3. It didn’t help that two years later the Kaikoura earthquake destroyed the homestead and badly damaged the shepherd’s cottage, requiring a former state house to be re-located from New Brighton, Christchurch, and the cottage to be refurbished for the managers, the Taylors’ son Marcus Taylor and wife Leanne. Upgrading the property required 50km of fenc- ing creating a hundred paddocks, and 600t of a total 830t of lime and suphur has been applied to the rolling country in the last 18 months, plus 80t of fertiliser over 300 of the better hectares. The lime and fertiliser visibly changed the colour of the browntop-dominated pasture, and the Ph rose to between 5.5 and 5.6 over most of the farm and to between 5.8 and 5.9 on the best areas. Phone 027 215 6307 Doughboy Romney Established in 1953 by the Taylor Family Flock: 2588 Drop into the Doone and take a look at how our Romney perform on our rugged terrain - see for yourself, we know you will be suitably impressed. It costs nothing to look Please make a time to visit the Doone, 3012 Inland Road Kaikoura Phone: Marcus/Leanne on 03 319 5322 - Hugh on 021 935 244 / 03 312 4267 Email: or Facebook Doughboy Romneys thriving on change The farm now supports a stud flock of 300 ewes, all twins born and bred on the place, plus 2000 commercial Romneys, 2100 halfbred ewes and 300 Angus-based cows and replacements. The Romneys have not only survived but thrived from the shift from the warm flats to the snow-prone high country, where the studs are subjected to intensive technology-based selec- tion criteria. Lambs are weighed at weaning and at 200 days, and the better ram lambs CT-scanned for muscle yield, with one top ram lamb this year reaching 67.5%. The wool is tested for micron, crimp, length, medulation and coarse edge (feel) by the Pastoral Management group’s Fibre-Scan machine, informing selection for fineness – now around 35 microns – and softness. “Wool traits are 60% heritable so you can change them quite quickly, and we’re aiming at reducing the coarse edge factor to under 8, at which point strongwool loses its prickly feel and can be used for apparel.” Stud lambs are all blood-sampled, and since 2006 Professor Jon Hickford of Lincoln University has been processing the results for gene-testing, further expanding the selection database. “It’s ground-breaking stuff – nobody’s actually done it before,” Hugh says. “Information is power, and the more detailed our information the better it expresses itself in stock performance.” Leanne and Marcus Taylor (manager of the Doone) with children Tessa and Indy.