Hampshire investment pays dividends

Little River farmer Ben Butterick was thrilled to receive $9200 for his Hampshire ram at an on...
Little River farmer Ben Butterick was thrilled to receive $9200 for his Hampshire ram at an on-farm ram sale last week. PHOTO: BEN DOUBLEDAY
An $8000 investment in a Hampshire ram at the Gore ram fair two years ago has paid off for Little River farmer Ben Butterick.

The first crop of rams sired by that sheep went under the hammer at an on-farm sale last week, one selling for $9200 and a second fetching $4000.

"It was a good day. The Hampshires sold well," Mr Butterick said.

"You’ve got to invest in quality so people can see you are in it for the right reasons.

"We are trying to breed the best for our commercial clients and if the commercial guys can see you are prepared to spend a bit of money, they can see you are trying to improve," he said.

The $9200 ram had strong scanning figures, a good phenotype, "a good back end and a good loin", he said.

"I did toss up whether to keep him, but his mother has a couple of good ram lambs this year which are just as good, if not better."

In all, 30 Hampshire rams from Mr Butterick’s La Mac stud were sold for an average price of $1700.

It was the second on-farm ram sale at Kaituna, near Little River and Mr Butterick improved on last year’s average of $1250.

A further 14 Poll Dorset rams were sold from the Lochaire Partnership, which Mr Butterick runs with Warwick Boon.

His father, Dave Butterick, sold 27 South Suffolk rams for an average of about $1000, while Brent Macaulay sold some Southdown rams for a top price of $1500.

The La Mac Hampshire Stud was established in 2006, when Mr Butterick was just 12, after he talked his father into buying five ewes from Phillipa Charlesworth’s Teviotdale stud.

In 2011, he went into partnership with his grandmother, Pat Butterick, and they built the stud up to 180 ewes.

Last year, Mr Butterick bought out his grandmother’s share and now runs the stud with his partner, Lucy McPherson, grazing the Hampshires at his grandparents’ Kaituna farm.

Alongside the stud, he works full time as the stock manager at Ahuriri Farm in Tai Tapu.


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