When it comes to prolific breeding, it does not get much
better than Lochern 234-07.
The Perendale stud ram, bred and owned by Alan and Annette
Williamson, from Ida Valley, has been selected as a link ram
for the Beef and Lamb New Zealand Central Progeny Test, which
aims to help sheep farmers identify the best genetics across
The ram's selection required about 1500 straws of semen to be
collected, which would be used in all five trial sites
throughout New Zealand over the next four years.
Mr and Mrs Williamson already had 200 straws in storage from
last season, so when they were combined, it could result in
about 2500 new progeny, Mr Williamson said.
The ram had already been widely used, with about 1000 progeny
on the ground, so he was arguably one of the most prolific
breeding rams in New Zealand, he said.
It was ''quite unusual'' for a ram of his age to be so sound,
fit and healthy, particularly when he had been used so much,
and Mr Williamson believed he would easily do another
The first trial 234 was in was a meat-yield trial undertaken
by the Perendale Sheep Society of New Zealand, which he
topped in its first year.
The Lochern Perendale stud was registered in the early 1980s
with the purchase of 23 ewes from the Ben Braggie stud in the
Mr Williamson's father, Donald, now retired in Alexandra, had
previously been running Romneys but decided to change to
Perendales in the mid-1970s, a breed that he was ''absolutely
When third-generation farmer Alan Williamson returned home to
the farm, he was keen to establish his own stud.
Coincidentally, his grandfather had a Southdown stud.
Just over 10 years ago, Mr Williamson also developed a
Perendale-based composite sheep, which he trademarked as the
Perfintx. It was based on a half-Perendale, quarter-Finn and
Although the Perfintx struggled to gain traction on a large
scale, local farmers who bought rams were ''absolutely
delighted'' with the progeny, he said.
This year marked the end of an era with the sale of both
flocks. Clients from Waipiata, Gerard and Stu Weir, bought
the Perfintx and Trevor Peters, from Peters Genetics, bought
the Lochern Perendale stud.
Mr Williamson acknowledged the day they made the decision to
sell the two flocks was a sad one but he was now looking to
Their decision was due to various factors, including the
state of the red meat industry, farm succession, a desire to
utilise their irrigation quota and ''just moving our own
farming business forward''.
Their 440ha property was on the floor of the valley and
Perendales were more suited to hill country properties. Ram
sales had declined over the past few years and he was
frustrated by the state of the sheep industry, saying it
seemed to be ''going south''. He believed the problem was in
the cost structure inside the meat plants.
The Williamsons still had some sheep and they were doing some
dairy grazing and fattening cattle. They might also do some
lamb finishing next summer.
A couple of years ago, they put in several dams to hold water
through the dry parts of summer, to ensure steady supply for
their K-line irrigation. They were now installing a
Their on-farm development meant they would be in a position
to run any livestock class, except deer.
Mr Williamson said his father was ''right behind'' the change
in farming practice. The previous two generations had also
embraced new ideas, he said.
He believed there was a bright future for the Perendale breed
and he would continue to maintain an involvement with his old