Station genetics manager sad to leave, happy with progress

 Mt Linton Station genetics manager Hamish Bielski is leaving to move into an equity partnership. Photo from Southern Rural Life files.
Mt Linton Station genetics manager Hamish Bielski is leaving to move into an equity partnership. Photo from Southern Rural Life files.
After seven years, Mt Linton Station genetics manager Hamish Bielski is walking off the farm feeling he has achieved his goal of breeding low-input, high-output sheep.

Mr Bielski and his wife Amy have moved to an equity partnership on a 300ha property near Clydevale, in South Otago.

He said he was sad to say goodbye to the place, especially when it was starting to see the rewards of an extensive breeding programme involving Texels and Romneys.

''The most successful part of my job was the start of the new maternal breeding programme, which basically held together our top Texels. We also bought Romneys and were heading to stabilise that over the last seven years, coupled with buying 750 of the Tan Bar Romney ewes in 2012.

''In my last two years at the station, I feel as though we are just starting to gain traction and starting to get there. It's taken six years to build the foundation.

''It's almost a bit of a shame to go at a time when we are in a sense starting to see rewards coming through, but it's well set up to keep the progress going.''

Working at Mt Linton station was the best decision he and Amy could have made for their careers, despite his having been sick of genetics when he first started there, after working at a composite breeding outfit for a year, Mr Bielski said.

''Amy and I had just had a baby girl and I needed a job. It wasn't really the genetics that excited me, more the challenge of being on a big station and having new opportunities. It just happened to be that the genetics was my job title.

''I'm really stoked with the experience I got there. It's one of the best moves that Amy and I have done in our careers, with what we have learnt. The environment that we are in has been great, and there's been plenty of challenges too - there always is when you're dealing with a lot of people. It's been very stimulating. We're sad to leave really.''

And while he would be busy with the equity farming business, he would continue in the genetics area, operating a consultancy on the side.

There was huge potential in the genetics side of sheep farming, as farmers could ensure they got the best return from their sheep with as little input as possible, Mr Bielski said.

''The great thing about genetics is that you actually never achieve any of your goals - they're constantly moving every year, every mating period, every lambing season.

''You are always looking forward to seeing how much progress you are making - it's very rewarding.''

The new genetics manager at Mt Linton Station will be Dave Warburton, who is a vet from Hunterville and will start in May.

- by Leeana Tamati