Newhaven Innovation

The Best Way to predict the future is to create it.

Abraham Lincoln

While consumer demands and perceptions have changed over the past 46 years of Newhaven selective breeding, the target of producing a superior high yielding carcass has not. This is an absolute priority that has been greatly assisted during the past two decades through the introduction of ‘eye muscle scanning’ since its inception in New Zealand. This is conducted in all Newhaven sires that are offered for sale. This is a measure of the area and width (and hence index) of the eye muscling on the back of each animal, a key and crucial indicator area of the carcass.

Newhaven Nil Drench

We do believe however that SIL indexes should always only be weighted to their true $ value weighting – i.e SIL indexes need to reflect exactly what you are being paid for in the marketplace. We believe that the ‘premium’ being paid by meat companies for yield is still too low – in reality, lambs are being sold mostly by weight and grading and this needs to be stepped up. The industry still gets a lot of heavyweight lambs that are too lean for what the consumer wants.

Newhaven Nil Drench

Generation 2

This regime has been successfully run since 1993. People are often taken aback when we tell them that our rams have never been drenched in their lives. So here is a little history…

From the 2009 lamb crop onwards (for sale as two tooth rams in 2011) all Newhaven Perendale Rams offered were never dosed with an anthelmintic drench in their lives. The first tranche of this Nil drench programme was 16 years of trials by not drenching 30% of the sale rams from birth to sale. These were specially tagged with ‘nil drench’ tags and run in one large mob combined with the rest of our sale rams from weaning. We discovered that these ‘nil drench’ rams were performing equally as well as their low-drench peers. It was a ‘no brainer’ to change our total policy to being drench free for all stud stock. We do however plan for the ewe hoggets to get 1 drench in their lifetime, however this has not had to occur for the past 3 years now, and many of our clients are now doing the same thing with great results. Can we stress, this isn’t a cost saving exercise on not having to buy drench (although this is indeed a saving!), it is a sustainability exercise to ensure our genetics are resilient and our clients do not have the burden of future drench resistance.

With full confidence in these animals to perform to the highest standard, you can rest assured that production will not be compromised, whether you are a ‘conventional’ or a registered organic farmer.

DNA Trait Testing

The Foot Score DNA trait testing was successfully integrated into the Newhaven selective breeding analysis during the past decade and is yet another example of how a specific trait can be assimilated into a broader genetic evaluation of a number of traits over time. This is carried out by scientists at Lincoln University and enables identification of sheep with natural resilience to the footrot bacterium. Each animal passes only one allele of the gene to their progeny (and so a lamb receives a separate allele from each parent). Target results for Newhaven stud sires are 1:1 (i.e the least susceptible to footrot).

Cold Tolerance

Cold Tolerance

This is an important and innovative trait that Newhaven has been placing emphasis in recent years, not only for survivability reasons, but also productivity and animal welfare. The cost of lamb mortality caused by cold exposure in New Zealand has been estimated at nearly 40 million dollars per annum, and this doesn’t take into account production losses by those that survive yet are effected by the cold temperatures. As a measure of how new born lambs can withstand the challenge of cold conditions during their neo natal period, it is of great benefit to identify those breeding sires that have the genetic ability to withstand such challenges. This DNA testing is conducted at Lincoln University and has been a substantial yet important investment for Newhaven genetics since 2003. Only those sires that have an ‘A:A’ result (a double copy of the gene) are used at Newhaven stud sire level.

Newhaven Naturally Mulesed

Newhaven Naturally Mulesed

This subjective trait was closely monitored on Newhaven for a decade by Agresearch, following the discovery that a number of Newhaven sires, dams and subsequent progeny were displaying distinct ‘bare breech’ (wool-less skin around the anus area of the animal) characteristics. This holds both practical attributes in regards to easier and less crutching of animals and possible long term positive consumer perception regarding issues that the fine wool industry faces with mulesing suppression. ‘If you can’t beat them, then breed them’.

Newhaven Innovation 14

Animate Mating Analysis

Genetic expertise at ‘Abacus Bio’, a Dunedin based firm, is utilised to ensure that Newhaven’s ‘single sire mating’ decisions are made in a manner that eliminates potential matches between related animals. The exercise of analysing every mating match through this genetic programme is a relatively costly one, however this is an important investment in our stud breeding programme.


Client Focus Events

We have held many events that have a technical yet practical focus over the past two decades – with these events held either at a Newhaven client’s farm, or at the Newhaven base.