Rams key to breeding top lambs

Marlborough farmers Ali (left) and Stu Campbell (centre) are congratulated by the sponsor South...
Marlborough farmers Ali (left) and Stu Campbell (centre) are congratulated by the sponsor South Pacific Meats' South Island livestock manager Murray Napier after winning the Canterbury A&P Association mint lamb competition.
North Canterbury rams are the secret to breeding mint condition lambs, according to Marlborough farmers Ali and Stu Campbell.

The Marlborough father and son duo paid tribute to their ram breeders, Chris and Jane Earl, of Scargill in North Canterbury, after being announced as the winners of the Canterbury A&P Association mint lamb competition on Friday.

"It's nice to give some recognition to Marlborough, but we couldn't do it without our ram breeder," Stu Campbell said.

"Chris and Jane look after us well and we appreciate what they do for us.

"We've been buying their rams for the last six years.

"We are on the same page for what they're breeding and what we want to achieve."

Ashburton farmer Paul Gardner (right) is congratulated by South Pacific Meats' South Island...
Ashburton farmer Paul Gardner (right) is congratulated by South Pacific Meats' South Island livestock manager Murray Napier after winning the ram breeders' class. PHOTOS: DAVID HILL

The Campbells first entered the mint lamb competition last year, winning the the tenderness class, but the lamb was "all fat" when it came to overall honours, Stu Campbell said.

This year they entered two lambs, being placed first equal in the 14.6kg to 19.9kg class and winning the 20kg to 24.9kg class.

The Campbells have 117ha at Spring Creek, near Seddon, and 400ha at Awatere Valley, running a mixed sheep farm and vineyard, with 1400 ewes and growing grapes.

"They work in well together," Stu Campbell said.

"For us, the sheep are the leaf pluckers to open up the fruit and then once we've harvested the grapes you've got that platform to graze."

Ashburton farmers Paul and Kay Gardner, who have won the mint lamb competition three times, won the new ram breeders' class.

The ram breeders' class was established this year as a separate competition for stud breeders and to open up the mint lamb competition for commercial farmers.

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