Motu-nui Romneys – The Perfect New Zealand Hill Country Ram
Three Decades’ Worth of Romney Experience
Motu-nui Rams was established in 1982 by John and Dianne Le Grove with the purchase of 215 recorded ewes and a ram 149/79 from John Daniell of Wairere. The objective was very clear – to produce thrifty sheep of good size and sound body which would perform under commercial conditions anywhere.
After initially breeding for size – which was what the market demanded at the time – the Le Groves soon realised that the smaller ewes in their flock were much better at handling the drought conditions typical of the hilly eastern part of Wairarapa.
In 2002, following client request, the decision was made to start breeding crossbred rams using the recorded Romney ewe flock as a base. Genetics were introduced from Finn, Texel, Coopworth and Perendale rams.By 2004 Motu-nui was selling around 700 rams, mainly in the North Island, and a strategic partnership was formed with Bruce and Carolynn Robertson of Wyndham in Southland resulting in ‘Motu-nui South‘. A similar partnership has since been set up with Davey and Wendy Moore at ‘Motu-nui Terminals’ in Homewood.
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The Tradition Continues With the Next Generation
John and Dianne Le Grove’s son, Jason, now heads the stud and is surrounded by a top team to help him achieve the specific breeding targets set up in consultation with his father over the years.
With efficiency and hardiness as top breeding objectives, Motu-nui Rams aims to breed ewes that can wean their body weight on summer dry hill country, retaining around 80% of the ewe flock that have achieved this target. This standard is aimed at delivering risk management for hill country farmers.
Motu-nui Rams are deeper and shorter than the traditional Romney. Our good-gutted animals hold on superbly well in tough seasons and still deliver strong yields. Motu-nui’s most efficient ewes weigh in around 65kgs.
Maternal ability is a strong focus at Motu-nui. Tagging lambs at birth allows first-hand assessment of a ewe’s mothering ability and has formed the basis for culling to improve maternal traits.
There are many new innovations now being used in our continuous quest for the perfect Romney – pregnancy and meat yield scanning, testing for resilience and resistance rams – but probably the best new tool at our disposal is electronic ear tagging.
Being able to record lamb weaning weights at the rate of 400 an hour, plus weigh the ewes and draft off the cull ewes and lambs all at the same time, makes these jobs so much easier and more accurate.
When you’re selecting your annual supply of rams, having all the technical data right in front of you is a huge advantage.