Nikau Coopworth newsletter 2020 The new edition of Country Wide Sheep arrived recently. I was interested to see many articles and comments on efficiency and low input. Our industry is facing many challenges and changes and the one constant that comes to front is we need to be ready to adapt our systems and farming to meet the demands. Regardless of the results from the election, we can be assured that environmental issues and policy change will continue pressing in and the beef and sheep sector will be expected to carry some of the burden. Hopefully some sense will prevail, especially when it comes to Green House Gas. The urban community needs to be held accountable for their contribution ; we quickly saw who the culprits were in regard to air quality when lockdown removed cars from the motorway. If we are forced to reduce numbers on the hills then efficiency and high performance will be key. Efficiency of production is the cornerstone of the Nikau breeding program. Clive Woodward’s vision, 40 years ago, to produce genetics with disease and parasite tolerance has been a continued goal of the stud. Moderate sized ewes weaning their weight in lamb with sound constitution and long careers are profitable. High performance ewes rival all other stock classes in terms of return. Some clients complain about high fertility. In a flush year with rain and grass growth more triplets will be scanned. However, in a year like the last one, with feed limited , ewes losing condition at tupping and no rain in sight, these ewes will perform well and still conceive twins with a low dry rate. Nikau ewes were 54 kg average going to the ram last March. About 10 kg off where they should be. 197% scanning, 1 % dry, 15 % triplets. Our summer dry- which in recent years is extended and more far reaching- requires genetics with fertility. If we have a great season with heaps of feed- hold your ewes up at tupping to avoid too many triplets ! Looking for outside sires, to bring in new genetics, is often quite difficult. I find too many studs have a high reliance on input, and do not challenge the stock to select for robust ewes. I have looked outside the Coopworth breed to find genetics that compliment the goals of Nikaus breeding program. I do not intend to begin having multiple breeds in the stud. Simply am looking to improve and progress by introducing genetics that I hope will benefit the breeding program. Last year I experimented with a couple of Perendale rams from Russell Proffits Raupuha stud. One ram over MA ewes and one over hoggets. There are a group of these ram hoggets for sale. This stud is run extensively in a hot FE environment and selected for structure and constitution. The rams I used were FE tested at 0.57mg/kg so I was confident I was not going to lose on the FE front. The ewe hoggets from this cross were mated to Coopworth sires and their progeny , at ¾ Coop, will be screened back into the Nikau stud based on performance. They scanned very well, inline with the Coopworth ewe hoggets and it will be interesting to follow them through and see how they stack up. I have been hard on temperament. Anything that runs away as I tag their lamb, smashes around in the weigh crate, jumps out of the yards- gets the cull tick ! They are good looking sheep and those retained have come through the same testing and challenge with minimal drench and a tough summer as the Coopworths. I Ramguard tested a group of these ram hoggets at .6mg/kg . The result was very good . There are a group of Coopdale ram hoggets in the catalog and 2 are FE tested. FEC Faecal Egg Count The increasing prevalence of drench failure has led more interest in genetics to reduce drench input. Nikau has been selecting for low drench use, reduced faecal egg count and good growth potential in the face of parasite challenge for over 20 years. Ewes are no drench. No long acting products are used. Lambs receive minimal drench and are selected for FEC- the ability to neutralize larva and not shed parasite eggs on paddock. This is an immune response and selection for low FEC has also been correlated with reduced incidence of viral pneumonia. The rams are given a star rating , indicating where their DPF sits on the SIL . While a 1 star ram may not seem all that impressive, it is still in the top 50 %. Along side FEC is growth. Reduced egg count is meaningless if the animal isn’t growing and in good health with no dags. Lambs are also selected for growth and thrift under parasite challenge as well as dag scored. The goal is an early immune response to parasites, good growth rates and a clean bum.
The Sale will be held Friday Nov 6, Tuakau Saleyards. 12 30 pm Be aware it is no longer being held in conjunction with the Monday sale. Open Day on farm in Waikaretu- Tues, Nov 3 from 11 am. Visitors are welcome any time to come view ewes and hoggets with lambs at foot.
Thank you for your interest in Nikau Coopworth rams. Kate Broadbent Nikau Coopworth 09 2333
Ewe Hogget Competition
Congratulations to Whitford farms for winning the Coopworth section of the 2017 Ewe Hogget competition.
Whitford Farms have been using Nikau genetics in their 1000 ha coastal farm for over 30 years. The 3500 ewe flock achieves top performance with scanning rates over 200 % and weaning 165+% , 80% lambs picked off mum. Hoggets are run on brassicus crop through the summer and tupped at over 40kg. A focus on hogget mating has lifted their performance to a level which surpasses the national ewe average with a 2017 scanning of 164%. 2016 scanning was 152% weaning 126%.