Breeder making way for next generation

Hayden, Stuart, Teresa and Nicholas Sinclair at the stud dispersal sale. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Hayden, Stuart, Teresa and Nicholas Sinclair at the stud dispersal sale. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Mid Canterbury stud sheep breeder Stuart Sinclair is clearing the way on-farm for the next generation.

After nearly 50 years building up a sheep stud, the 64-year-old Wakanui farmer sold the majority of his ewes at an off-farm dispersal sale at the Ashburton A&P showgrounds this month.

Among the 350 South Suffolk, Suffolk and Cheviot stud ewes up for auction, only 10 did not sell.

Those that did went to breeders from around the country, which was pleasing, says Mr Sinclair.

Stud breeder Stuart Sinclair has sold his stud stock in preparation for handing over the farm to...
Stud breeder Stuart Sinclair has sold his stud stock in preparation for handing over the farm to the next generation. PHOTO: TONI WILLIAMS
There was good support from breeders nationwide for the sale. About 65 people had registered as buyers for the sale.

After a few personal health issues, not helped by dealing with animals weighing upwards of 120kg, it was time for him to bow out and hand over to the next generation.

"It was enough of a scare to get me to ease back," Mr Sinclair said.

South Suffolks, which on average could weigh between 120kg and 150kg, were a good meat breed while the smaller Cheviot breed has a dual purpose (meat, wool) as well as being an easy-care sheep and good for hogget mating.

While he, and wife Teresa, will have more time for golf or travel, their sons, Nicholas (32) and Hayden (28), are keen to take over the farm. Daughter Katherine (30) is a lawyer in London

It’s taken a bit of planning to get the handover sorted.

Mr Sinclair, who is the fourth generation on-farm, says the boys were not as driven about the sheep stud and planned to focus on store lambs and, with pivot irrigation being introduced in the coming days, increase the crop operation.

"(The sheep stud) is my passion not theirs," he says. But to keep some interest he still has the 10 top rams of each of the three breeds, which he will retain until next year.

He will also stay involved in judging, which will keep him in contact with breeders he has met over the years.

Stuart Sinclair (second from right) and son, Hayden (far right), load stock for his stud...
Stuart Sinclair (second from right) and son, Hayden (far right), load stock for his stud dispersal sale in Ashburton earlier this month. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
The farm, which is bordered by a dairy farm and two crop farms and is just five minutes’ drive from Wakanui Beach, gets its water from an underground bore, not through an irrigation scheme.

The automated pivot system will help them be more sustainable and efficient users of water.

Getting the pivot installed also means Nicholas and Hayden can continue to work off-farm, Nicholas as a farm adviser and Hayden an apprentice electrician.

Mr Sinclair says he will stand back and let them farm their way but will be around to offer advice and help out where needed like "a general go-fer around the place".

"The boys will take on more responsibility and (there will be) less for me. It’s one less thing to worry about," he says.

Mr Sinclair, an only child, took over from his parents, James "Jim" and Ruth Sinclair.

They ran the 174-hectare property as a sheep and mixed cropping operation, which their son continued.

He introduced the first South Suffolk breed in 1972, and at peak of his stud had about 150 South Suffolk, 120 Suffolk and 120 Cheviot.

 

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