Breed’s proud history celebrated

Perendale sheep have a proud history of being able to handle pressure when the going gets tough, southern enthusiasts of the breed say.

More than 60 people attended the 56th annual Perendale Sheep Society of New Zealand conference hosted by its Southland Ward members last week.

The three-day conference began in Invercargill on Monday.

At a Perendale Sheep Society of New Zealand annual conference tour stop at the Kamahi Perendale...
At a Perendale Sheep Society of New Zealand annual conference tour stop at the Kamahi Perendale stud in Mimihau are (from left) southern ward life member Robert Gardyne, of Alexandra, councillor and Kamahi owner Warren Ayers and president Seamus Sullivan, of Diamond Peak. PHOTOS: SHAWN MCAVINUE
Highlights of the first day included a council meeting and technical workshops by farmer Ben Dooley on social media, Mike McElrea on worm faecal egg count, Robert Gardyne on the Carla saliva test, Blair Smith on nil drench and Julia Aspinall on a ram fair catalogue.

Ward president Seamus Sullivan said there were eight Perendale studs in Southland and attendees visited six of them over two days.

The studs visited were Kamahi Perendales in Mimihau, near Wyndham; Kylemore Perendales in Wyndham; Diamond Peak Perendales in Diamond Peak, near Gore; St Helens and Hinerua Studs in Gore and Montana Perendales, who runs blocks in Wendon Valley, Mossburn and Mandeville.

At the first tour stop, Southland chef Ethan Flack served lunch in the woolshed at the nearly 900ha Kamahi farm.

During the second stop, Dave McKelvie's stud Kylemore Perendales, Malcolm and Margaret McKelvie and John and Judith Minty were given life memberships to the Southern Perendale Breeders Club.

The tour also stopped at Lyall Mason’s 374ha farm at Waipapa Point and the McFadzien family’s 440ha property Ferndale farm, near Mataura.

The farmers of both properties were finalists for the Sir Geoffrey Peren Cup.

Sir Geoffrey developed the dual-purpose Perendale breed from crossing Cheviot and Romney breeds.

A pen of mixed-age ewes and a ram on show at Kamahi Perendale stud in Southland.
A pen of mixed-age ewes and a ram on show at Kamahi Perendale stud in Southland.
The cup was presented to David, Helen and their daughter Maegan McFadzien at the conclusion of the conference, an awards dinner in Invercargill on Wednesday night.

Warren Ayers, of Kamahi Perendales, won the Struan Trophy for his contribution to the Perendale breed.

Diana Timms was made a life member of the society.

Southern ward life member Robert Gardyne said some Perendale studs had shut in the past few years because "Perendale country" was being covered in forestry in some areas, such as Lawrence.

"Ninety thousand ewes have disappeared from that area in the last two years and the majority of those are Perendales or Perendale crosses."

Perendale sheep had a proud history of grazing native country being broken in and lacking trace elements.

"They did a wonderful job in developing a lot hill country in the North and South Islands."

Ward councillor Warren Ayers applauded the breed for "standing up under pressure".

The society was one of the first to hold a meat quality competition, he said.

"They’ve been looking for bigger, heavier lambs for a long time."

The southern ward, otherwise known as the Southern Perendale Breeders Club, was formed in 1970.