By Dr Clive Dalton
In the 1970s, the concept of Group Breeding was developed and promoted by Professor Al Rae at Massey University, and was carried on by his students who went farming and into farm advisory roles within New Zealand. Groups were started within the Romney, Coopworth and Perendale breeds and the story below is about the Perendale group called 'Perendale Genetic Development' or PGD.
As a scientist at the NZ Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries Whatawhata Hill Country Research Station at the time, I had a lot to do with PGD members, and I believe it's important to record a part of their history. The brochure they produced below certainly shook up the established stud breeding world. Garth Cumberland was a major driving force in this promotion.
Words from promotional Brochure
produced by PGD in the 1970s:
Having increased production from every acre of land by using modern techniques, farmers are now seeking increased production from each individual animal. Geneticists have shown that flock sires bred by traditional stud lines are in many cases genetically inferior to the ewes with which they are being mated. Breeding Groups are the modern method of flock improvement.
- PGD is a Perendale Group
- PGD is soundly organised
- PGD plans vast improvements
- PGD is nationwide
By exploiting outstanding high fertility animals, PGD provides the most efficient known method of developing fertility, wool and other commercially important characteristics of Perendales.
Farmers who take advantage of PGD can be sure that the genetic and commercial merit of rams produced will improve every generation.
PGD was first planned by agricultural scientists. It was formally established in 1969 by eight progressive Perendale breeders. They made far-reaching plans and formed PGD into a limited liability company. They appointed Colin Chamberlin, one of New Zealand’s top Perendale breeders and judges to act as Flockmaster. He is responsible for direction and management of PGD’s Central Flock, where New Zealand’s best Perendale ewes are tested. His experience and skill in rearing sheep is reflected in the high standard already attained by the PGD Central Flock.
The group of farmers who planned PGD have now been joined by more top Perendale breeders. About 40,000 ewes are now being screened by PGD’s Central Flock.
Scientific and commercial advice is sought to assist the group to make the best decisions. Determination and objectivity which is exhibited by all PGD members, ensures that each generation of PGD Perendales will be genetically and so commercially, better than the previous one.
Initially PGD’s Central Flock has accepted only recorded stud Perendale ewes. These are the ewes with the best twinning and fertility performance from contributing flocks. Many registered ewes have in fact, not proved acceptable because of minor faults. Such is the standard of the breeding and excellence required by PGD and its Flockmaster.
However, scientific facts indicate that to maintain a high rate of improvement in PGD Perendales, the group must also screen and use the highest producing animals from New Zealand’s flocks of commercial sheep. Many highly productive and very attractive ewes are being found in this way. These sheep, after further testing and careful inspection for type, in members’ flocks, will allow PGD to raise its standards of production even higher.
These far-reaching, logical and simple procedures will ensure the successful achievement of the basic objectives of the PGD Group. The commercial and genetic merit of PGD Perendales must improve with each generation.
PGD ewes are bred under widely different conditions, and are tested under one environment. The sons of these ewes- rams of the top genetic merit – are dispersed throughout New Zealand.
- David Carter, Waihou, RD, Ormondville (Waihau Stud)
- Colin Chamberlin, Rawhite Road, 1RD, Reporoa (Narborough Stud)
- Ken Cumberland, Garth Cumberland, Kettlewelldale, RD, Manurewa (Kettlewell stud)
- Neil McHardy, Aramoana, 1RD, Waipawa (Aramoana Stud)
- John Stovell, Willow Flat, Kotemaori, Hawkes Bay (Ren 38 Stud)
- David Baker, Cave, South Canterbury (Kainga Stud)
- Malcolm Udy, Pearce Shannon, 324 College Street, Palmerston North (Karioi Stud)
- Derek Anderson, Hundalee, RD, Parnassus (Mt. Guardian Stud).
- Ness Bjerring, Seaview, RD1, Waihi (Seaview Stud)
- Chris Jury, Tikorangi, RD 43, Waitara (Green Acres Stud)
- Charlie Nairn, RD1, Waipawa (Vigour Stud)
- Tony Vallance, Te Kanuka, Masterton (Te Kanuka Stud)
- Peter Williams, Mamaku, PB, Masterton
- Gough Smith, Earlyhurst, Masterton (Earlyhurst Stud)
- David Law, Te Rohenga, Box 48, Shannon
- Kevin Nesdale, Moorfield, RD 7, Kimbolton (Moorfield Stud)
- Duncan Menzies, Mangamingi, RD 19, Eltham (Rannoch Stud)
What happened to the PGD sheep
Report from Charles Nairn - 2010
In 1988 the Central Flock was sent to me at Omakere to manage, with nine members contributing (from memory). After a few years Robin Hilson and one other wanted their sheep out - which was arranged.
By 2002 there were only five active members, with most having left their ewes in the Central Flock. It was agreed to cease operation and so members were offered their share of stock or to sell the remaining stock and take a share of the proceeds. Three members took their share in stock and the rest agreed to the sale.
At the sale Graeme Maher (a ram buyer) bought 85 ewes out of the 120 on offer and I bought the 72 ewe lambs that were up for sale. The agreement required me to present the group with 72 2-tooths each year, the surplus becoming mine as of right.
Graeme Maher sent his ewes to me and Duncan Menzies sent me 120 of his ewes and I added 170 from my stud and the whole lot are now run as one stud under the name C2C (Short for Coast to Coast) as Duncan reckoned we spanned the North Island.
I send half the ram lambs to Duncan at weaning, and he grows them on for sale in Taranaki, with the computer linking the two groups so that we can bring back the best rams to the stud.