What Happened in 2013 

Royal NZ Show is being Held in Feilding


Royal NZ Show was held between 6 - 8 December 2013 at Manfield Park in Feilding.  It was a great opportunity to view high quality dorpers.  This year, GT Ferreira an Australian Dorper Judge and Inspector attended the event and judged the dorper section.  There are five classes, champion and Reserve Ram and Ewe and Supreme Champion.


Dorpers were out in force with breeders putting their best sheep forward.  There was five categories and 28 entries received.  GT Ferrier, a South African and Australian qualified Dorper Inspector and Judge attended the show and judged the animals.


In the ram section Kevin Carr (Valhalla Dorper Stud) won the over 18 month ram category and Jo and Peter Townshend (Kilmarnock Dorpers) won the under 18 month ram category.  In the ewe section Jo and Riki Morris (JR Stud) got a clean sweep winning all three categories, ewe over 18 month with lamb at foot, ewe under 18 month and ewe under 18 month with lamb at foot.


Champion Ram was won by Kevin and Jo & Peter’s ram received reserve champion.  Jo and Riki’s ewes received both champion ewe and reserve ewe.


Supreme Champion was awarded to Jo and Riki’s young under 18 month ewe that the judged remarked on its top line, length of body and overall it was perfectly structured. 


Spring Lamb Competition – A title to vow for”

This year the RAS (Royal Agricultural Society) Youth Council NZ  included a category "Spring Lamb Competition".  Farmers could enter a spring lamb from this season into this competition free of charge.  The animal ideally had to hang up between 18-21kgs and was judged both on the hoof and on the hook.  On the hook section was assessed using the following criteria:


  • Partitioning (proportion of fat)

  • Distribution (distribution of fat - subcutaneous)

  • Compactness, blockiness, thickness, legginess - for yield

  • Muscularity (relative to the skeletal)

  • Fleshiness (muscle thickness)

  • Fat depth

  • Intra and Intermuscular fat

  • Skeletal Dimension (length)


Congratulations to both Jo and Riki Morris from JR Stud and Kevin Carr from Valhalla Dorper Stud for coming first and second (respectively) in the hook competition.

Jo and Riki’s ewe lamb was judged as being marginally over weight in the hoof section of the competition and was placed fifth.  However the carcass weight of 19.2kgs (41.5kg LWT) met the criteria (which had to be between 18-21kgs) set by their overseas market and had the perfect amount of fat throughout and excellent eye muscle.


The original ewe that was placed first in the hoof section was ultimately disqualified as it weighed 23kgs on the hook.




For the first time since becoming registered breeders, JR Stud entered into the Royal Show.  We took 10 sheep and received the following places:


Supreme Champion - winner

Champion Ewe - winner

Reserve Ewe - winner


-  Ewes under 18 months - (1st place)

-  Ewes under 18 months with lambs at foot - (1st and 2nd place)

-  Ewes over 18 months with lambs at foot - (1st and 4th)

-  Rams over 18 months - (2nd and 4th)


Pet Lamb Competition

Both the boys entered their twin ewe lambs into the competition.  Although they didn't win any prizes they got to promote the breed and some conversations were held throughout the event.  the lambs did a wonderful job of being led around the circle but didn't come when they were called, they were more interested in each other than coming to Fabian or Shilo.  However in Fabian and Shilo's defence they have only been working with the lambs for about 8 weeks.


Annual North Island Dorper Sale

The following week the Annual Meat All Breeds North Island Sale is also being held in Feilding on Tuesday, 10 December 2013.  This year, due to the unavailability of the sale area, it has been decided that Dorpers would be part of this annual sale. 

GT Ferreira (judge and inspector from Australia) attended the sale  and inspected the dorpers that were on sale. He was available for potential buyers to talk to and the feedback regarding this was positive. 

This year there were 13 rams (7 whites and 6 blacks) and 8 ewes (2 whites and 6 blacks) for sale.  All animals were inspected prior to the sale by GT FerrierCOUNTRY LIVING EXPO HELD IN FEILDING


Next weekend (7 and 8 September) Manfield in Feilding is hosting the annual country living expo, a unique expo designed for small land owners and lifestyle farmers.   We will be joining Christine Reed and hosting  a dorper pen, we have three of our ewes and two pet lambs to take to the show.  it should be a great affair, more information is available on their website,



Congratulations to Deb Fletcher from Pohangina she won the two lambs that we gave away.  They have now settled into their new house and have goats and ducks to play with.


Lambing Has Started 

Our 2013 lambing season is well and truly underway.  To date we have had 66 lambs from our Dorpers and 30 off our Embryo sheep.  So far the results have been really good and we like what we see.  Our AI sheep (ram was Dell, Son of a Gun)  have lambed and we got five ewe lambs and seven ram lambs, fingers crossed one of those will make the grade as a future ram.    A big thanks to Jo's Dad for coming out and doing our lambing beat during the day, he has helped make our life a bit easier.


Senior Course at Burrawang Station, Australia

The results have come through the mail and both Kevin Carr and Jo Morris past our first senior course.  Congratulations to you both!  The next step in the journey is to complete and pass another senior course and then you are eligible to sit your judging exams.


Courses Planned for 2014 

Watch this space for more details on another Junior and Senior Course to be held next year.  We are currently in discussions with Wicus Cronje about him coming out to New Zealand to faciliate these course.


In the May 2013 edition of the Taranaki Manawatu Farming Lifestyle, we had an editorial called "Aiming High with Dorpers" promoting our stud.  Below is an extract of this article.


Aiming High with Dorpers ... After initially buying 10 crossbred Dorper ewes with 10 lambs at foot at

a bargain price in 2008, Jo and Riki Morris were so impressed with their growth rates compared to other sheep they soon bought more. 


May 2013 - Another Round of Embryoing and Scanning

We have just completed our second round of embryo program and this time we have had huge success.  We used four of our top line ewes and we received 41 eggs, one of our ewes gave us 15 eggs, not bad considering last time she only gave us six eggs.  Our number one ewe gave us 10 eggs (last time it was only four).  We had 39 recipients available to use, in the end we only used 26 ewes, the remaining 13 ewes are of to the yards at the end of the week.  Now we have to wait another 40 days to get them scanned to see what the final results are.

Last weekend Carl from Agscan came out to scan our ewes, in the end he scanned about 110 ewes.  Of the 34 composite ewes we scanned, only four were dry - we were extremely happy with that percentage.  We had a few more dries in our purebred paddocks than we were exepcting, so they have gone back to the ram for one final try.  Of the nine AI ewes eight scanned as inlamb, again another amazing result for us.  Roll on lambing we say!

Our Sheep

Our sheep are in excellent condition and our first ever embryo program has come and gone.  We are happy with what we have done and the results we achieved, it has been another great learning curve for us. We didn’t achieve the number of eggs as we thought we might get, as none of the ewes gave us double figures.  The good thing was though, every egg we harvested was able to be used.  We used 35 recipients in that program and still have over 30 not used. So we have decided to go again. That program begins this Sunday.

While we had our ram in the quarantine centre we took some straws off him for sale and to keep just in case something goes wrong with him.

We only ended up using nine ewes in this year AI program using only one sire. We pretty much decided that the ewe lambs from last year are generally going to be much better than the ewes we had, so we decided to keep the straws for another year.  The bonus about keeping the straws for next year, is that our 2012 ewe’s foot scores are lower and will produce excellent results with our remaining straws.  We now have three different sires’ straws with over 60 straws to use for next year or later on.  And as always we will be looking for new bloodlines for next season (so if there is anyone out there that can provide us with quality straws give us a call or email).

The ram was put out with our nine AI sheep and after the 16th day he has hit one, fingers crossed no more are coming.

The other day we went over to one of our lease block were we are keeping our 30 remaining receips and a ram had bent a heavy duty gate and blown the gate staple clean out of the fence post. So he had a smile on his face but we didn’t. Now that is all sorted we will start the program in the weekend as said before.

We have booked in our scanning man for the 5th of May, where we will be scanning about a 130 ewes and another 50 maybe in around august. This first scanning will give us an indication of how the breeding season has been going across the different process’s used.


Farming in General

We have been busy like always, but it has been fun. The Manawatu has been declared a drought zone and everything has been very dry. We have ordered and applied our annual supply of fertiliser on to four of our lease blocks plus our home block at the recommend rate for cropping (that should get the grass going)!

We timed it perfectly as we got it on the ground two day before the rain arrived only missing out on one block, but we did get that one before the next lot of rain hit. We got approximately 47mm in the first lot of rain.

We also had ordered new grass seed and booked our contractor to direct drill and he was able to do this between the 1st and 2nd rainfalls. This is a mix of red and white clover, chicory and plantain with a bit of rye grass to add to the mix. So far we have had some 50mm of rain since our drilling and the temperatures have been good to us with generally double figures overnight. The seed is currently breaking though now after ten days in the ground. So fingers crossed that it keeps like this for the next three to four week and the ground temperature doesn’t drop below 10 degree C.  At home, we plan on being completely de stocked in the next three weeks, apart from Blackie (our steer), but he is only going to be around for another month or two.

The home block is going to be used for the majority of lambing bought home two weeks before lambing and back off two weeks after. This starts in June right though till October with some large gaps in between and then the lambs will be back to be finished off.


Dorper Course - Riki's Opinion

Well where do we start, what a great course! 

For a start I recommend that anyone who is into Dorpers or is interested in starting a Dorper flock should attend one of these courses. It prevents you spending excessive money purchasing the wrong sheep or breeding with the wrong stock. It teaches you that, you can purchase a lower type animal and with the right type Sire, your quality over a few years will improve.  Or purchase a higher quality animal from the beginning, as you know you have selected correctly. For example when we first started approximately 15% of our ewes where cull type animals and over 60% where 2nd selection animals, 10% were 1st selection and only 15% where stud animals. This is due to the way we brought the majority of our flock and that we really didn’t know what we where purchasing. But to be fair I believe that the breeders selling them didn’t know what they are selling, for example, they weren’t using the same selection (grading) standards as we were. 

Dirk Buitendag was our instructor for the course, and it has been a few years since he has run a course.  He was used to having to prepare all of the information prior to the course starting, so there was also some degree of variation between the content of the courses, but the core standard was the same. However, everything is high-tech now, thanks to the development of training information in PowerPoint presentations, video recordings and written course documentation. So it is very professional and with the course instructors personal knowledge you can’t go wrong. Kevin Carr had started working with Dirk about a year and a half before we had meet him, so It was only fair that he ran the first international standard dorper course in New Zealand and our course was only about a month behind his. He offered his services to assist us in running the course, so we accepted this as he was also able to fly down with Dirk keeping him company and helping us with the formal presentations.

Not to bore you too much of the detail, but we started on Thursday night for about three hours.  We continued all day Friday and Saturday (from 8am until about 9pm with meal breaks etc). On Sunday we completed the written and practical exams and finished at about lunch time.

So yes, it was full on but fun, when you love the breed it is easy to do and there was plenty of time to talk about different topics and each other farming ideas and challenges etc.

On the personal front as always Jo and I are very competitive and before we had started the exams, the rules were discussed and agreed and the race was on.  We were going to race to see who was going to finish the written exam first and who was going to get the highest marks? So we started with the written exam, well tradesman against an Office Manager Riki had no show, but what the hell I was going to give it a go!  Well we were off, but about three quarters of the way though it (another words Jo was nearly finished) she looked over to see where I was up to and seen that Kevin had given me the Senior Course Exam (Bugger).   So I had to start again, which threw me ("sounds like an excuse to me" said Jo) and as I rushed to finish the paper so that I didn’t hold everyone else up, I completely blew it. Well Jo scored in the high 90% and Riki was in the mid 70%.  So there was the normal banter in our house and it was all on. By this time, I was thinking to myself, that I had no show in catching up to her now.

So we where off to the practical exam tests. More pressure as Dirk had made this views quite clear that he thought Jo had a better eye than me! So I had a point to prove.

By the end of the exams it was very close I had scored in the mid 90s in the practical there was one ewe that both of us disagreed with Dirk and the others and we proved later after checking our records that we were right but, hey the instructor’s comments rule on the day!  For Jo she picked a ewe that was a Cull due to Pasterns and I didn’t (to be fair I think she had a great call the ewe was on the turn), but fortunately for me, and unfortunately for Dirk he was convinced that it wasn’t a cull animal, so Jo lost total marks on that ewe – thank goodness is all I can say!

In the end of it all I got 1% more than Jo (ye ha). But at the end of the day we both scored high in different parts of the course exams, but I believe we are very close in the practical examination, which makes us a great team to grade our ewes going forward.


What is Happening in the Dorper World of New Zealand

We have just had the first election for the The New Zealand Dorper Sheep Breeders Society committee.  This is the first time since they were established that the committee membership had to go to a vote.

Jo had put her name forward for election but it was no surprise that she was not elected we are only new to the Society just over two years and we have pretty much kept to ourselves trying to achieve our goals that we have set.

However, we would like to congratulate the new committee members and wish them the very best in moving the dorper breed forward in this country.  This may be a big call especially as Dorpers are becoming the biggest growing breed in the world.  Four members of the new committee will have attended a Junior Dorper course in the past, and this is a good foundation for the committee and the society.

Later this month, there is a Junior Dorper course in the shaky City of Christchurch, this is scheduled to be held between 25 - 28 of April. Knowledge is power.

AGM for the Society will be held in Auckland this year in June hosted by Jim and Kevin from Valhalla Dorpers.

In July both Jo and Kevin Carr are both attending a senior course in Burrawang in Australia.

Kevin has started to make arrangements for a senior Dorper course for early 2014 to be run by a South African inspector, who will stop into NZ on his way to Australia.

A note of thanks to Kevin Carr for all the time and effort he has put into getting these courses up and running single handed really.   


Junior Dorper Course Held at JR Stud

Between Thursday, 9 March and Sunday, 10 March 2013  we hosted a Junior Dorper Course at our farm, this course is accredited by the World Federation of Dorpers managed by the Dorpers Sheep Breeders Association of South Africa. 

Dirk Buitendag was the instructor for the weekend and we had three people attend the course, this included Boyd Young (from Ratapiko Dorpers from Inglewood) and both Jo and Riki Morris.  Unfortunately Christine Reid was struck down with a tummy bug and was unable to attend.

The weather was bright sun and very little wind and all three participants past both the theory and the practical part of the course.


Watch this space for more about the weekend and photos.... some photos added, click here


Another course is planned for early April and to be held in the South Island.  Contact us if you want more information.  The course is open to anybody who has an interest in Dorper sheep, you don't have to be a member of the society to attend.


Embryo and AI Programme Started on 11 March 2013

In early January we secured 73 mixed age composite ewes and others will be used as recipients for our upcoming embryo programme.  Both the nine donor ewes and the 73 ewes have now started their programme to ensure they are all ready for the embryo process.  On Easter Sunday, this year, we will be assisting Ross Edwards from Premier Breeding Services, with the procedure.

And on Easter Monday, 11 ewes, will line up to be included in our annual AI programme.  We will continue to use ‘Son of a Gun’ straws over these girls.


Dorper AGM Confirmed  for 31 May – 2 June 2013

This year’s NZSBA – Dorper AGM 2013 has been confirmed for early June, the AGM meeting is planned for early Saturday morning followed by a tour at Valhalla Dorper Stud situated in Kumeu.  The day will wrap up with a speaker from Beef & Lamb NZ and conclude with an informal Dinner at Tony’s Restaurant in Henderson.


Selection and Grading

In early January we hosted Dirk for a weekend visit and he helped us assess our 2011 stock both rams and ewes.  He identified a young ram as a type 5 stud, from Kaya bloodlines, so we have some plans for this boy.

We sorted through our 2012 ewes and rams and kept a handful of rams that have potential.  These rams will grow out over the next 6-8 months to see how they progress and grow.

We have seen a marked improvement on our ewe lamb drop last year and we have some very good potential ewe lambs coming through.  Out of 40 ewe lambs only three lambs didn't meet the mark of 36 kgs to go the ram.  Not bad for lambs born Augugust through to early October.



And between everything else, we have managed to get out for several fishing trips, we managed to get our bag limit of Blue Cod and that is after making a decision onboard to only keep the cod that was over 36 cms.  Fishing trips also  included attending the Wanganui 3-day fishing competition held over Wellington anniversary weekend in January. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t the best (too much wind) and we only managed to get out for 1/2 day's fishing.

We all won a spot prize throughout the weekend and thanks to our great hosts (James and Jan from Wanganui Marine Services and local Cam-Am Dealers) we had a great time in Wanganui.  The boys had a good weekend, they learnt how to ride the quad bike and whats involved with making sausages.

Jan thanks for hosting us and save our spots for next year, as we will be back!