‘Cold Tolerance to the Fore’

Blair Smith – December 2010

With Newhaven’s ewe and ram hogget shearing  completed in late Spring, as we head into a long hot summer – it is promising to see  returns to the grower for a quality wool product strengthening.

The challenge will be to keep this momentum going in the right direction, and we all need to take responsibility for this. We are pleased that we have remained focused in our selection for wool quality over the past three decades, as this is certainly an important attribute of the pure Perendale – with the ability to produce the worlds whitest and bulkiest crossbred wool – it is a attribute that we must remain to place  importance on, alongside the many other key breeeding criteria – both physical and performance based.

With our  lambing and tailing now completed and the lambs happily growing out on the tussocks alongside their mothers, the DNA testing work that we have carried out over the past decade has seen an interesting positive turn with Jon Hickford and his team at Lincoln suggesting that the gene associated with cold tolerance is also correlated with higher birth weight, faster growth rates and lean carcass yield. It is scientific findings such as these that make us appreciate the time and effort that has been invested over the past 37 years in the Newhaven stud – monitoring this attribute alongside worm tolerance, growth, meat yield and of course conformation essentials into a practical no-nonsense genetic package.

It is inspiring to be part of the industry that will reap the benefits of a global food shortage, due to population growth moving at a frightening pace – with New Zealand farmers achieving this production in a genuinely sustainable manner. We at Newhaven intend to be at the forefront of this growth and innovation, with you as leading sheep producers on the journey alongside us.