Gracelands ram hogget stands tall against the best at Christchurch show November 2014

An exciting win for the dorper breed as Gracelands 151-13 - (after winning the dorper ram under 18 months class at this years Christchuirch show then taking out Reserve Champion dorper ram) placed second in the all breeds (meat) hogget class. While thoroughly expecting the judges to take one look at the smaller statute ram against those big suffolks, southdowns etc, it was an amazing result when the NZ judges placed the black dorper second in the class. We are still grinning from the success and really pleased that dorpers are holding their own and winning against the big guys. The judge commented on the "exceptional" dorper ram. Their focus was predominatly on a good loin and well muscled ram. This really was the case with this guy who was all muscle!! He is entered in the Agonline auction later this week, but secretly hoping he does not sell so he can return to stud at Graclands!! 




 A dozen Graceland ewes spent the early winter in Hamilton this year as donors for an embryo transfer programme to South America. The ewes were from the flock purchased from neil Hamilton (Hamdor) and produced 52 embryos for export. They arrived safely home in July and are due to lamb to a Dorper Lodge ram in Decmeber.



One of Gracelands 2013 crop of lambs winged its way over to Germany in early 2014 after spendng time in quarantine in New Zealand and then in the UK. Strict European Union import protocols meant that the ram had to be a particular scrapie resistent genotype to be allowed entry. The genotype (ARR-ARR or Type 1) is one that has been shown to be most resistent to the disease scrapie. Even though NZ does not have this disease, the EU have a breeding programme where they are slowly culling out less resistent types to produce flocks of ARR-ARR sheep. Of the 27 rams tested by Lincoln University, only one had the right genotype and he was a nice type animal. His new owner is pleased with him and after further testing, we hope to have more for export. This is the only testing of dorper sheep for scrapie resistence that we know of in NZ. Kaya stud in Australia have also found low positives for this geotype in their testing. Some semen has been retained from the ram prior to export.



Triplets and test-tubes - the new genetics from Whynot hit the ground running!!

The long awaited 15 September for the arrival of lambs resulting from the artificial insemination programme finally arrived - with a few lambs born early and still awaiting some even now on the 19th!! Unfortunately I suspect that a few ewes did not get in lamb and instead tried the follow-up ram! But of the 16 ewes done, one unfortunately  died in the winter and another 8 have produced 13 lambs from the imported semem, including this lovely set of triplets. The few single lambs were born quite big and theres some lovely lambs as a result. So its exciting to have this new line of sheep join the flock 


2013 Lambing Season begins unusually!!!

The lambing season started rather unusually in August with the birth of a set of twins - one with a golden head! This is very unusual and is thought to be a reflection of the persian heritage line of the dorper that can throw back to the original red colouring. And later in August a second set of twins was born like this as well - one with a black head and one with a red. 

As at 18 September, lambing is almost finished (thankfully!!) with some 97 lambs on the ground! Theres still another dozen left to lamb, including those that were artificially inseminated with Whynot dorper semen.  So its going to be a busy end to 2013 when weaning comes around! But it means a great selection of new stock to choose from for future breeding  


A boost to Graceland ewe numbers with the purchase of the Hamdor registered ewes 

After more than a decade of selecting and improving his "Hamdor" stud dorper flock in Taumaranui, Neil Hamilton sold 30 of his remaining stud ewes to Gracelands and they arrived on 14 February 2013.   A week later the ewes were brought in the yards for a drench and boy were they wild!! The new "Combiclamp" sheep handler really proved its worth!! Turns out Neil never drenched or needed to do their feet and they had never been shorn! mmmm Figures!! So my patient shearer then tidied up the years of fleece on the girls (they were relatively well behaved) and their feet hardly (after several years) needed a trim. The flock has been divided in half and put with the much more docile Graceland ewes and are already settling well. With a generation or two presented with sheep pellets (who could resist!), we should hardly see the difference between the wild and untamed, and the "pet" flock.   This brings the Graceland dorper stud ewe numbers up to around 100. 



  Photo: Whynot 065-10

 The first artificial insemination of Graceland ewes - new genetic material from Whynot Dorpers Australia  

April 20th 2013 may have been a very wet autumn day in Featherston but the 18 ewes over-nighting in the horse stables were still keen to get out for some new grass. Before that though, a team of 5, including Ross Edwards from Premier Breeding Services in the Manawatu, my sheep farmer neighbour and two very capable lady small holders assisted me to get straws from newly imported Whynot Dorper semen safely into the hormonally synchronised and ready to ovulate ewes.


I had selected the ram on a visit to the 2012 National Show in Dubbo, Australia. The ram (Whynot 065-10) was entered into the sale but had to be withdrawn from sale from injury. He was clearly though a quality ram with good length, upright feet and a well muscled hindquarter. The rams sire is Bellevue 007/08 (a type 5 resulting from an embryo transfer from South Africa). The sire was by a Phillip Strauss ram out of a Same Haling ewe. 

The dam of the Whynot 065-10 was Whynot 024/07 by the "Big Al" ram Y 6771.  Big Al was imported as an embryo into Australia from South Africa and born in 2003. He is a Type 5 ram and was supreme dorper exhibit at the 2007 National Dubbo show.  

Mark Gett from Whynot had not exported semen before but some investigation on both his side and ours led to the importation in early April of 40 straws for Gracelands and 20 straws for breeders in the South. Unfortunately one ewe managed to fall awkwardly from the cradle and break a leg so was soon euthanased but otherwise the procedure went without a problem. The pampered mums are now looking forward to a late September arrival of new genetic lines for the New Zealand dorper flock.   Another 22 straws await in storage for another round of insemination on early 2014. 



 New genetics purchased from Dorper Lodge


An exciting new ram hogget was purchased from Dorper Lodge in North Canterbury and arrived at Gracelands on 5 February 2013. He is by  Kaya 1209/07 or "T-bone" as he is commonly known (photo above). In keeping with the theme of meat, the new ram has been named "Porterhouse" or "Porter" for short. Terry Clemens from Dorper Lodge imported semen from Kaya 1209/07 in 2012 and this ram is from his first lambs on the ground.  Kaya 1209/07 is classified as a type 5 ram and was Champion Senior Ram at Dubbo National Show in 2009 and then sold to Brazil. He is also presently the top ranked Lambplan Dorper/White Dorper ram using the Dorper $ index and has exceptional WEC figures which indicates that he is genetic tolerance to intestinal parasites (-58%). These performance figures have been validated through the CRC project where he was one of the tested rams in 2010/2011. His sire is from the famous Mickey Phillips line - Mickey Phillips "Pundu" and his dam is Mickey Phillips 1059. 

"Porter" is out of one of Terrys top stud ewes (below). A recent training course run at Dorper Lodge rated the ewe very highly all round. Porter has been running with the hoggets since 7 March so his first lambs are due in early September.


A photo of Porter will be added once he matures


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