Our five key focus areas are reproduction, growth, meat, wool and survival.
COOPWORTH: Production Plus
ROMWORTH: Built for Hill country
SUFTEX: The Sunday Roast
MORE PHOTOS COMING SOON!
ROMNEY - Mainstay
Raho Ruru Flock History
John Humes started the flock in 1978, after working for Warren Holmes for 4 and a half years and becoming hooked on the stud. His farm Raho Ruru was predominantly Turanganui Bloodlines and so it was an easy start. He initially went around the farm with a drench gun with red dye in it and identified the ewes with the best sets of twins. He started selling Raho Ruru rams in the 80’s. His flock grew and he had 1200 ewes , and sold 310 rams in his best year.
He worked closely with Holmes Warren and John Daniels, and it was from here the WRIG group was developed. (Wairarapa Romney Improvement Group).
After a genetics conference with Proffessor Ray and Dorian Garrick, they asked the question why could the Romneys not produce the Meat yield and fast growth rates like the exotics do, hence in 1992 an experiment/focus was set up within the WRIG group, with exceptionally positive and beneficial results to the entire WRIG groups flock on Meat yield and growth rates.
All WRIG group members selected 25 of there best ewes (selected on BV for LW8, of at least 2kg) and a focus flock was started, based at Raho Ruru. The ewes were A.Ied using the top 10 rams on SIL and the progeny was killed and meat yield measured. The data was related back to the ram lambs collated with the growth rate data and the top three rams were selected.
These three Rams were used over the whole WRIG flock at Raho Ruru by AI and the study was continued up to 2015. Results have been substantial with a huge increase in weaning weights and an increase in the value per head due to better grading and yield.
So they have realised the potential to lift the commercial farmers lamb weaning weights by 5-10kg, with an added increase in value of $6-$12 per lamb!
The Raho Ruru flock was bought to Grassendale in 2015, and considering the change in topographical and grazing conditions from South Wairarapa to Eastern Wairarapa, they still scanned %177.
On selection of the flock, we went through pens 12 sheep at a time, basically selecting the sheep which were more suited to hill country farming. Specifically looking at body type eg angle and length of neck, depth of barrel and length of body. After this selection regime we came home with 650 of 900. It was a great result for us, a big thanks to the team at Raho Ruru.
We're proud to be members of the Wairarapa Romney Improvement Group
COOPWORTH - Production Plus
Coopworth Flock History
Ross Seymour farmed in Tinui on a typical eastern hill country farm, although carrying capacity had been greatly increased, the per head animal production had not changed to any great extent. So in the mid sixties, after going to a lecture at Massey university on genetics Ross decided to improve the performance of the breeding flock by crossbreeding. He could see the British farmers doing so much better with there genetics.
His Romney flock had a lambing %under 100, so in 1963 the ewes were mated with Border Leicester rams for the first time, this increased the lambing by 30% and also produced lambs that could be sent to processers rather than sold store.
At a similar time there was an emerging group of farmers led by Sir William Dunlop and aided by Lincoln college who decided the answer was to interbreed the border cross sheep using strict selection based on performance. This resulted in the formation of interbred ram breeding flocks and the “Coopworth” breed of sheep
Tirohunga followed this policy and established a Coopworth flock, and became registered in 1970. The flock continued to maintain a high level of production and give very satisfactory financial returns. Ross became a founder and chairman of the Coopworth society and was in close contact with Lincoln genetics through all this development phase of the Coopworth breed.
By the late 70,s Ross had 850 registered ewes. In the 80,s the stud was wound down to 40-50 ewes due to Ross moving to town and pending his son John moving to the farm, there was a few managers in this time.
In 1992 the flock transferred hands to John Seymour and a new stage of its development proceeded using technology and new techniques, like AI to obtain the use of high ranking progeny tested sires selected from the national flock . John screened top performing ewes out of his own commercial flock and built up numbers of the flock to 300 registered ewes, at this stage they were weaning 180-190%, with an average weaning weight of 30kg. Valley Coopworth produced the highest ranking ram in the NZOSR in 1999. Semen from this ram was exported to Australia.
We purchased Valley Coopworths on 2010 and renamed it Grassendale Coopworths.
Since taking over we have focused on growth and meat and maintaining reproduction at a 200% + scanning, which seems to have cemented at this level. We annually eye muscle scan, and have also done some CT scanning at Lincoln university as well as footroot gene marker on sire rams.
We used some Embryo transfer in 2013 as a tool to speed up genetic gain. And are on SIL, focusing on breeding a dual purpose ram.
The five key traits for us being
A great example of the Coopworth reproductive gene was in 2013, our first cross Romney/Coopworth 2th scanned %166, coming from a five year straight average of %150 in the Romneys.
ROMWORTH - Built for Hill Country
Romworth Flock History
It all started in 2009 when we put Coopworth Rams over our 5600 WRIG Romney commercial ewes. We then selected 700 in lamb, twin reared hoggets at a minimum weight of 43kg at the 1st of May.
The following year the selection then went onto 2tooths in lamb with twins, and having a condition score of three or over at the end of the winter rotation. They were also tipped over at this stage ensuring feet and structural soundness were of the quality required.
We also culled on aesthetical qualities, aiming for a deep barrel, short neck, straight topline, with no medulated fiber on skin around anus in a V shape (dag preventative).
These ewes then went on to scan %187 with %7 triplet , %15 single, %2dry. We set stocked at 6.1pha on grade VI & VIII class of land. We had a record docking of %155 and our average weaning weight was 30.5kg.
We repeated this process with the next age group to give us the numbers to gain genetic merit. These ewes have now gone through multiple dry summers and tough winters, with two autumn droughts and proven themselves worthy in condition and performance.
The result has been so consistant we are stabilising our commercial ewes with the Romworth.
For the 2015 mating we put 700 recorded Coopworth ewes selected on reproduction and survival to high growth rate/meat Romney rams. Our first Romworth Rams are for sale in 2016.
SUFTEX - The Sunday Roast
Suftex Flock History
The flock was started established in 1990 by Gordon Mackie in the Hawkes Bay who was wanting to produce high yield growth rate rams, focussing on the off mum slaughter date.
He managed to purchase the first Texel Suffolk cross out of quarantine in New Zealand. He then purchased the Suffolk dispersal flock from Intercontinex and crossed these two.
We now run a joint agreement with Gordons son Kurt Mackie, there are 550 ewes in the flock. They lamb on the 10th August , set stocked at 12.3ha. They scan %165-170.
The selection of rams is anything over 40kg at 85-90 days.
What Our Clients are Saying
We have been using Grassendale Coopworth rams for the past four years. We have a good base of Romney ewes and were looking to add more lambs plus build on our mothering and milking ability.
Grassendale in Tinui, is genuine, dry hill country in summer - a great testing ground for these Coopworth genetics, this farm will sort the men from the boys.
Since we have been using Grassendale Coopworths we have moved our scanning from163% in 2013, to 183% in 2015 and docking from 135% to 146%. This year we scanned 188%. Grassendale Coopworths are giving us the lift in production that we hoped they would.
Ben and Deb Morrison