Wairere Rams – Over 80 Years of Ram Breeding
Wairere has been described as “The worst climate I have ever worked in!”. Wairere is 1070 hectares effective of medium to steep Wairarapa hill country, rising to 532 meters above sea level. The climate is typically winter wet, summer dry and a Class I wind zone (average year round wind speed of 35kmph on the high ridges). Rainfall is 1125mm average, but the six months from November to April average around 400mm. Only 2% is flat land. The wet cold, windchill-prone climate is a serious testing ground for constitution and feet.
Normally around 5,350 ewes, 2,000 ram hoggets, 2,400 ewe hoggets (with 4-500 dry hoggets sold in late July) 240 rams and killers, around 10,000 sheep in total. Cattle policy is 300 cows, selling most weaners. After a good autumn more cattle are wintered. Overall stocking rate: 11.2 to 12.3 su/ha depending on the season.
Apart from lambing to weaning, ewes are mob-stocked and rotationally grazed. So, too, are ram lambs and ewe lambs. Mob-stocking lambs in mob sizes of 1,000 to 3,000, soon shows up those lambs which cannot cope with competitive grazing pressure.
The Wairere Timeline
Len Daniell started the Akoura Romney stud in 1929. John Daniell selected the best Wairere 5 year ewes in 1967, and mated them to several top Akoura rams. Thus was born a Wairere hill country flock, fully performance recorded from that year. After the accidental death of John in 1983, Derek Daniell took over as studmaster.
Akoura Romney Stud Started by Len Daniell.
John Daniell started Wairere hill country flock by selecting the best Wairere 5 year old ewes and mating them to several top Akoura rams.
Expansion of ram sales as Wairere became a nationally known ram breeding enterprise.
Derek Daniell assumes management of Wairere as stud master.
Derek becomes a Nuffield Scholar. Promotion activity plus expansion of Wairere breending flock through the formation of joint-ventures (JV’s).
Formation of Wairere South JV.
Formation of Wairere King JV and large scale crossbreeding programme using Finn, East Freisian and Texel.
First 65 Romney rams were air freighted to Melbourne. Start of Wairere Australia JV.
Facial Eczema Tolerance Programme started. Formation of Wairere Challenger.
Formation of Wairere United Kingdom JV. Start of Terminal Sire Programme. Formation of Wairere Dominators.
Formation of Wairere South America.
Formation of Wairere Smart Sheep.
Farm purchased near Heywood, Victoria, Australia, and Wairere Australia set up with the air freight of 190 ewes, followed by two years of multiple ovulation embryo transfers.
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