South Suffolks History
In an effort to diversify from basic sheep and beef farming, the South Suffolk stud was founded in 2004. We were using South Suffolks as a terminal sire already and were impressed with them, so decided to look at breeding them.
The original stud purchased belonged to Ronnie Thompson of Norsewood, and consisted of 93 M.A. ewes, 45 ewe hoggets and 71 ram hoggets. Further additions of ewes included 102 from the Capethorne stud at Methven (2006) , then 143 ewes and 65 ewe hoggets from Sam Twigg at Waipukurau (2009). Last winter (2014) we purchased the local flocks of Mark McKenzie (Maungahina) and Rod Cranswick. In 2015 we have mated 333 ewes, and will winter 160 ewe hoggets and 150 ram hoggets.
We aim to breed a consistent line of rams with strong, dark brown heads, displaying the wedge shaped body i.e. width in the hindquarters but with the shoulders well set in and not too far forward or prominent. This is a problem I strike often when looking for potential stud sires, many rams offered at stud fairs are wider in the shoulders than the hindquarter! A decent barrel or “spring of rib” is also important for constitution and capacity to harvest and convert feed. I tend to steer away from overly tall or long sheep as while they may have fantastic growth rates when everything is going their way, they are invariably slower to finish and tend to lack constitution. South Suffolks are all about early maturation as should any terminal sire be, to allow feed to be directed back into the capital stock as soon as possible. For this reason I concentrate on rapid growth from birth to weaning to maximise weaning drafts and/or liveweights of stores. The cost of production of these lambs are low, once you start drenching, dipping, dagging/shearing lambs your margins are eroding and your workload increasing!
Legs and feet. To me these are the most important part of the sheep bar none, and always the first thing I look at. The best pedigree and performance data are no use at all if the sheep has structural problems. The sheep must walk squarely on all four feet, without “rolling” over sideways. If this happens feet will wear properly – the edges of the hooves will not grow excessively and will be self maintaining. The pasterns must be correct without too much or little angle or flexibility. The claws of each foot need to be correctly shaped with a reasonable air space between them, to allow air to circulate and prevent dirt etc lodging there. This is important to reduce susceptibility to footscald, which often leads to footrot. Any sheep which show an inclination to persistent scald are culled. We do not footbath breeding stock, and only put ram hoggets through the trough as a last resort, sometimes a wet humid spring will require this, but i struggle to recall the last time we needed to do it. We do make use of the gene marker testing for susceptibility to footrot, this is helpful, but obviously is only relevant when the sheep is structurally sound as well.
Glendonald South Suffolks Offer
- Early maturing progeny. Our focus on growth from birth to 200 days means the vast majority of your terminal sired lambs are finished early, meaning feed can be directed into breeding stock e.g. growing replacements or flushing ewes pre-mating. However, should you choose, South Suffolk cross lambs can go through to heavier weights without major overfat problems.
- Easily Identifiable progeny. Uniformly marked lambs, for attractive lines of store lambs with zero chance of slipping into the breeding flock
- Two Season Guarantee. We expect that your rams will last a MINIMUM of two breeding seasons. Any failure will be replaced the next selling season, however we can normally provide a back-up at short notice if required.