Lay of the land

Reporter Shawn McAvinue asked farmers at the Merrydowns Stud sale in Waikoikoi if weaker sheep commodity prices affected their ram-buying strategy.

Daniel White, of Owaka ... "No, not really. I see it as an investment and that blood is going to be around for a while, so there’s no point shortchanging yourself for one year."

Raeleen Sinclair, of Nightcaps ... "No, we have to get rams to have sheep to sell. We have to buy a number of rams to go over the ewes, so we’ve got to buy them."

Andrew Law, of Castlerock ... "No. We are not breeding for this season, we are breeding for the next five and there’s no point breeding shit now, is there?"

Sarah Wyllie, of Ashburton ... "We are in the stud breeding game so we buy the top to improve our own sheep, so when we sell rams later on, they are an improvement. It’s a very good question because we’ve been to a few ram fairs around Canterbury and that’s what has been happening — there is not the buying power and I say people have lost a bit of confidence."

Fred Booth, of Ettrick ... "You only buy good rams — you don’t buy any sort of a ram. You’ve got to forget about the commodity prices and buy the ram that you want because if you’ve been farming for years and years and years, you know exactly what you want and you go and buy it — if it is not there, you don’t buy it and you go somewhere else."

Andrew Christey, of Southbridge ... "Yes because you can’t afford to buy the top genetics but then maybe no-one else can too and everything falls back and those rams won’t go for a higher price, so you pick your best rams and see what you can afford. You still work through your same system but you have a lot lower limit. "

Ross Paterson, of Waikaka ... "I don’t need any stud rams this year. I bought enough last year. It certainly would if I was in a position to have to be buying — it would affect how many I bought and how many rams I try and take through for another season."

Kirsten McIntyre, of Waikoikoi ... "Yes because I need my sheep to grow quicker and get fatter faster because you’ve got to get them away quicker, so you have got to be having rams which get lambs away quicker. They have to be gone at weaning because those are the lambs that cost you the least."

Don Murray, of Waitahuna ... "No, not really. The sheep are still the same and the price will come back up, so you’ve got to stick with your programme. If you keep your breeding programme good, when the prices come back up you can take advantage of it. I never buy more rams than I need — they’re too expensive. I just buy the good ones."

Photos by Shawn McAvinue