Stoneburn pair win

The dream team...Enjoying a brief quiet moment after doing the ''hard yards'' and winning the New...
The dream team...Enjoying a brief quiet moment after doing the ''hard yards'' and winning the New Zealand Ewe Hogget ...

Doing the ''hard yards'' has paid off for Simon and Kirstin Engelbrecht, of Stoneburn, Dunback.

The sheep and beef farmers were named this year's New Zealand Ewe Hogget competition winners, at a function in Queenstown recently.

They took home the title and more than $10,000 in prizes after already winning the crossbred breed section.

The couple, who had been farming on their 611ha Dunback property for nine years, were delighted.

''We never expected to win,'' Mr Engelbrecht said.

''However, we knew we had a pretty productive flock through talking to other farmers and knowing what other flocks do.''

They also have a 170ha property on the coast, which they bought a year ago, where they fatten store lambs and beef cattle along with some breeding cows.

They also have four children: Oscar (16), Sam (13), Anna (11) and Charles (10), who help on the farm when needed.

''They are amazing children who help out often in pretty high pressure situations and poor weather.''

A key factor to the farm's productivity has been their decision to buy the best rams they can.

''We do spend very good money buying terminal sires and that is evident in the lamb weights,'' he said.

''They are really important with more than half the ewes going to the blackface [rams].

''As our ewe performance is pretty high we don't need to have a lot of ewes going to the Coopdale rams for replacements.''

He said the sheep were good mothers with good survivability, although he and Stuart McIntosh, who works for them, did ''a few hard yards at lambing time''.

He said Mr McIntosh was not only ''a great help but a great human being''.

''If we have to deal with a ewe pretty much for any reason at lambing time, she is not here next year,'' Mr McIntosh said.

They buy their Coopdale rams from Alastair and Lyn Cocks' Braeburn Coopdale stud.

''I don't have to buy a lot of Coopdale rams as I have never lost one and they hold their condition right through mating, are a good tough sheep, and the lambs are good strong lambs,'' Mr Engelbrecht said.

''They perform well despite the challenges.''

Mr Engelbrecht represented New Zealand in showjumping when he was younger and was a member of the New Zealand training squad and competed in America.

He still has an interest in horses and owns three thoroughbred racehorses.

He leased a farm at Waihaorunga, near Waimate, when he was 19 and at that stage gave himself a 10-year plan to achieve his goals.

''The couple then bought a property in the Hakataramea Valley before moving to Dunback.

He also coaches rugby and belongs to St John and is hoping to get his training finished sometime soon.

Mrs Engelbrecht teaches part-time, and is fully involved on the farm and busy in the community.

The couple will host a field day later this year.

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