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Fernvale Genetics

Fernvale Genetics 2020 Newsletter

Welcome to the Fernvale update for 2020

This would be without question the most disruptive year in farming experienced in generations, some would say since the last world war.

But as per normal the farming sector keeps on trucking forward. The reality is that it has to keep moving forward, the stock does not care about a global pandemic / trade wars or insane government policies in fact the red meat sector has held its own through all of this, Especially with lamb showing how resilient this product has become.

As I have talked about in the past the performance of our commercial flock on the Whitecomb hill country has always been a benchmark for ourselves to test our own genetics in what could be considered the harshest of the environments they have been bred to preform in.

Our targeted lambing of 140 % on the hill country was not quite meet last year due to a significant snow fall mid lambing, however we are very confident of achieving our target this season, the ewes scanned 178 % and luckily missed the snow storm as it was just prior to them starting lambing.

The Stud policy that we have had for over a decade now of only retaining multiple reared lambs is in my view the most simplistic no nonsense way of driving up survival in fact for example we underestimated survival when we ordered stud tags.

We minus 25% scanning which gives us the number of tags required to do the DNA testing at tailing, where we ran out of tags and had to re order more, which was an inconvenience at the time as the death rate worked out to be 21% from scanning through to tailing.

Romney and Romdale Hoggets
(Romney and Romdale Hoggets 19/10/2020)


This has been yet another year of low wool prices, with Covid-19 just adding to the problems in the crossbred wool sector. It is getting to the stage where we now have a negative effect once we sell our wool and pay the shearers!

We have backed Wools of NZ since the beginning as we wanted to be involved with a company that was grower owned and seemed to be focused on helping to improve things for the crossbred wool market. There have been some false starts, but I am extremely excited about their latest news that they are moving into the carpet sector. They have already secured the contract for 71 houses with a major NZ construction company, they have employed a Market Development Manager for the carpet, they are looking for a warehouse in Christchurch and are planning to have Wools of NZ carpet in retail stores by February 2021.

There are also plans to launch Wools of NZ carpet in the US later in 2021. John McWhirter their CEO tells me that they can be price competitive with the current wool carpets available in NZ, plus we have the brand and the marketing story. At last, something to feel positive about!

I see there are also talks between Wools of NZ and Primary Wool Co-op on a possible collaboration. Any move to amalgamate these two wool companies to give them a larger share of the NZ crossbred wool clip is a good thing as far as I am concerned. We need a bigger company with more farmers directly involved to make a difference.

Clearing Aitchison Runs Road—Getting access to Whitecomb to start snow racking

There will be 5k gemonix available on the top 100 Romneys and 50 Suffolk Rams, this is on top of the normal SIL indexes. We have also carried on with the micron side sample testing in the Romneys and Romdales.

Enclosed is an order form for you to return for your Ram requirements.

We look forward to seeing you the first week of December. Ange will be on contact with a time and date for selection.

Please feel free to contact us with any queries.

Kind Regards

Lloyd and Ange Brenssell


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