STRAIGHTFORWARD lambing, high fertility, ‘amazing’ lamb survival and ease of selection with Cloven Hills rams, tick all the boxes on Helen Baillie’s ‘must haves’ for her Wesley Dale stud.
Originally running heavy ewes on the Mole Creek property, Helen found that difficulty in handling and the need for lower stocking rates were impacting negatively on the farm and she initially made the move to New Zealand’s Kelso genetics.
“With the big ewes we were running earlier, the large animals were too big to handle, the shearers didn’t like them and we couldn’t produce as many kilos of lamb per hectare as we could with a smaller animal,” Helen said.
“When we couldn’t get any more Kelso, we started looking around for a something new for the property.
“Initially we went to (Hamilton’s) Sheepvention and we liked the look of the Cloven Hills rams – they were pretty much the same size as the Kelsos.
Running a high stocking rate, compared to other studs in the district, Helen’s needs were simple – a moderately-sized animal which would lamb easily, grow out quickly and produce the numbers required to keep her business successful.
In her first season with Cloven Hills, her stud ewes were joined exclusively to seven Cloven Hills rams and the results spoke for themselves.
“They did absolutely fantastic at marking – we didn’t scan for triplets and we marked lambs at almost the same rate as scanning – around 177 per cent,” she said.
“There was certainly no issue with the lower birth weight; survival was excellent and in the first few weeks the growth in the lambs was incredible.
“And we didn’t pull lambs, we don’t pull lambs, particularly in the studs and we didn’t have a single problem with lambing, it was just straightforward and easy.”
At Cloven Hills, Kate and Chris Dorahy know every ram produced on their property and collect and publish extensive data on every animal they sell.
Kate’s extensive knowledge of how to assess and select for particular or multiple traits using that data is a huge attraction for Wesley Dale
“Two years ago, when we went over and had a look at the Cloven Hills sale, we didn’t buy anything but talked about how we could work together,” Helen said.
“We want some level of control over what we do, which is why we breed our own lambs and all we needed to do with Kate was explain what we wanted, what we needed to do and Kate and Chris helped us select and brought that to us.
“There is so much information available on the rams and their sale catalogue is extremely well put together – even if you are not going to see the rams, there is enough data in the catalogue to make a sound decision on buying a Cloven Hills ram.
“Kate is incredibly good to talk to, she’s well-informed and happy to share every bit of information and knowledge she has, to help our business.
“And talk about available – it’s just extraordinary!”
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