We began breeding rams for our own purposes for mating with our 1600 breeding ewes. However as demand has increased we now breed rams for sale to clients.
Key traits under selection are:
Facial Eczema Tolerance
Faecal Egg Count (FEC)
As well as:
We run a rigorous culling programme for any physical faults in our sheep. Any sheep with faults are black tagged and culled, no exceptions.
Feet, teeth, jaws, teat placement, fly strike, dags, attitude, bearings, wool faults, are all taken into account.
Facial Eczema Tolerance
Our Coopworths are FE GOLD accredited. We have been breeding for FE tolerance since 1992 and being FE GOLD proves our commitment to this. Our rams come from highly tolerant base flocks and 10% or more of our rams are tested each year at 0.6mg sporidesmin per kg liveweight. As well Kirikau Valley is at low elevation (160m), with minimal wind making our flock the ideal home for the sporidesmin mycotoxin.
This year our RamGuard results were particularly impressive with no reactors and almost half the rams GGT levels decrease after dosing! We are more than proud of the years of work that Robert & Suzanne have put in to get us to this point. From an animal welfare perspective we are so proud that our animals do not have to fight the burden of Facial Eczema.
For more information on FE please see our article in the News and Update section "Understanding Facial Eczema", or click on the FE Gold icon check out their website.
FERTILITY IS KEY
We prefer twinners and our growth trends show a steady rise.
We routinely scan at 180%.
Growth Rate & Meat Yield
Growth Rate is a key trait selected, we want an animal that is sturdy, not slabby. Each year our top rams are taken to Lincoln University in Canterbury for CT muscle scanning so we can breed from the best. After all we are in the food business and the right meat to fat to bone ratios are essential for producing the top grade at the works. Ideally our Kirikau bred lambs have a lower birth weight for birthing ease, and accelerating muscle gain as they approach slaughter.
Breeding for wool is another key factor at The Poplars. With wool prices decreased it is ever more important to be choosing rams with excellent mid-grade wool. At our second shear, we weigh pre and post shear the lambs. This figure gives us the fleece weight of the lamb providing significant insight into quality and quantity of wool.