February 5, 2014

No 14. Sheep Performance Recording in New Zealand. History. People involved.

 By Dr Clive Dalton


The old badge of office of staff from the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries. It featured the 'a' for agriculture and the fish was hidden inside the 'a'.  It was well recognised in the field and  was developed at very little cost within house.
MAF staff involved over last 50 years
Sheep improvement in New Zealand has involved a lot of people, and a lot of resources, over the last half century. And in thinking about Sheeplan and all the MAF staff involved directly, you can’t ignore the work of scores of others in the organisation whose 'indirect' contribution was more in general sheep husbandry through improving ‘environmental’ issues like nutrition, growth and health, rather than straight genetics.  But without all their work, genetic progress could not have been turned into hard cash for farmers.

When you look at the list below, which may not be complete, it’s staggering to see how many dedicated folk made a contribution to New Zealand sheep farming. Please let me know if I have missed anyone out.

I don’t dare ask myself – who took their place?  And where is the research pouring out to help sheep farmers in their time of need, not just to increase production but the keep the entire sheep industry viable?  Is there anybody out there who cares?  Is the Minister of Agriculture at home? Maybe there are no problems left to solve and all the work has been done.  I know that a lot was never written up.

For a list of past sheep research, Google my blog and then search for ‘sheep research 1932-1976 in New Zealand’.

MAF Research Scientists
Ruakura Agricultural Research Centre
Lindsay (Lin) Wallace
John Hutton
Graham Everitt
Ian Inkster
Gordon Edgar
Archie Campbell
Alan Carter
Neil Clarke
Leyden Baker
Howard Meyer
John Smith
Robin Tervit
Bob Welch
Ron Kilgour
Alan Pearson
Peter Rattray
Pat Joyce
Alan Kirton
John Bass
Barry Butler-Hogg
Neil Towers
Bob Fairclough
Peter Mortimer
Margaret di Mena
Merv Aitken
Frances Cockram
Karl Jagusch
John Wolff

Whatawhata Hill Country Research Station
Doug Lang
Graeme Hight
Monika Wodzicka-Tomaszewska
Clive Dalton
Roland Sumner
Ken Elliott
Murray Bigham
Terry Knight
Rob Moore
Des Wyman
Mike Blockey
Bill McMillan

Invermay Agricultural Research Centre
Jock Allison
George Davis
Rob Kelly
Roger Lewer
Geoff Hinch,
Ken Drew
Peter Fennessy
Tom Barry
Hugh Hawker
Andy Bray

Wallaceville Animal Research Centre
Ken McNatty
Dave Thurley
John Tenquist

FAO (Animal Husbandry)
Alastair South – Wellington (Chief FAO An.Hus.)
Clare Callow (nee Green) - Hamilton
Malcolm Smith – Hamilton
Bruce Binnie - Timaru
Keith Milligan – Hasting
Kerry Giles - Rotorua
Colin Horton – Whangarei
Peter Packard – Auckland
Ken Geenty – Christchurch
Keith Thompson - Christchurch
Tony Rhodes - Christchurch

Sheep and Beef Officers
SBO John Dobbie helping Perendale breeder David Welch select Perendale hoggets

Colin Gardener – Wellington Head Office
George Wickendun – Wellington Head Office
Lance Wiggins – Wanganui
Ian Palmer - Whangarei 
John Dobbie – Hamilton
Alan Marshall – Gore/Rotorua
Dave Richardson - Hastings
Colin Southey - Pukekohe
Bob Thompson - Whangarei
Lindsay Galloway- Christchurch
Clive Bibby – Hamilton
Ross Moorhouse – Rangiora
Mark Collins – Ashburton
John Coveney – Invercargill
Ashley McCaw – South Otago
Graham Pringle – Gore
Ian Miller - Christchurch
Robin Renish – Timaru
Stuart Ford – Timaru
John McLeod  – Timaru
Ian Blair – Taumarunui/Blenheim
Jim Lusk - Wellington
Hugh Dyson –??
Peter Marshall – Wanganui
Ron Montgomerie - Napier/Hastings
Mick Ball – Timaru
Gerard Hall – Invercargill
Alan McInstry – Alexandra
Bill Hansen – Dunedin
Brian Bradley - Invercargill

Clive Bibby
 Further reading
Clarke, J.N. and  Rae, A. L. (1977). Technical aspects of the present national sheep recording scheme (Sheeplan).  Proceedings of the NZ Society of Animal Production 37: 183-197.

Dalton, D.C. and  Callow, C.F. (1976). Why Sheeplan is necessary. Proceedings of the Ruakura Farmers Conference, 13-17..

Davis, G.H.  Lab coats to gumboots, Page 157.  National Flock Recording by Tony Parker.   NZ Society of Animal Production. Occasional Publication No.13. Edited by George Davis. 

Uljee, B and  Rennie, N. (1990). Livestock Recording for Beef Cattle and Sheep.
Published by Ministry of Agriculture & Fisheries. Wellington, New Zealand.

Welch, R.A.S. and  Kilgour, R. (1970).  Mis-mothering among Romneys.  NZ Journal of Agriculture, 121 (4): 26-27.

Writing these notes has been an interesting exercise, particularly to renew contact with so many former (and aging) colleagues who so willingly shared their memories and triggered more of mine.  It has been sad but rewarding to remember the contribution of the increasing numbers of MAF colleagues who have now passed on.

Of all the MAF staff involved in Sheeplan, the Sheep & Beef officers need the most recognition as it was ‘their time’ to make a massive contribution to increasing New Zealand sheep productivity and exports.

It’s impossible to thank all the pioneering sheep breeders who drove and supported flock recording in the early days, and there needs to be a monument to their memory right outside parliament for their outstanding contribution to the wealth of New Zealand.

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