Stuart and Joy Williams became members of the ARDG in 1971 with a small flock of Romney's, this quickly grew as the farm developed. Situated just north of Auckland the farm is a comfortable mix of hill country and rolling contours. Jenny, Stuart and Joys daughter, along her husband Adrian and two children Ashton and Shanae, joined the farm in 2009 and have now taken over all of the day to day running of the farm. The recent purchase of another 96 hectares of neighbouring property has brought the farm area to a total of 480 hectares. Adrian and Jenny, also have an interest in a boutique beef breed, the Bazadaise, and have just breed via A.I their second cross heifers, to a French Bull via imported semen.
Passionate to continue developing the "Glenbrook" recorded flock, Adrian and Jenny are heavily involved in the screening, recording and research required to produce the highest quality rams.
The "Glenbrook" flock has now been intensively screened for 46 years, with only the highest performing animals selected. Only the best rams are interchanged between all ARDG members. This distributes a broad band of genetic material from large numbers, these are indexed and ranked based on genetic testing and field analysis over a wide range of traits to be sure of accuracy. Along with the assistance and guidance of a geneticist, DNA testing with Zoetis and recording and analysis data with the help of Sheep Improvement Limited we have the very best information on which to select our sires and those for our customers.
This is based on increased fertility, improved body and wool weights with fleece excellence, facial eczema tolerance and worm resistance and resilience along with low dag scores, after all who wants to crutch?
A free lambing, open faced sheep with good mothering ability, a vigorous nature with high survival rates along with high ewe efficiency is a major feature. The flock is recorded for the above traits using the Sheep Improvement Limited recording system (SIL) and ranked using the National Genomic Evaluation. All stock is run under realistic stock rates on rolling to hill country contour.
All rams are sired by New Zealand's most highly facial eczema tolerant rams. Facial eczema testing using Sporidesmin is carried out on a selection of the recorded ranked rams, with a range from each sire used. The ARDG are leaders in FE tolerance, using the highest dose rates that are available, our animals continue to out perform in this area. DNA testing is also performed on all ram sires and the top ranked ram lambs, this aids in our ranking and selection process and is used to create connectedness between ARDG flocks. According to our geneticist this is something we do better than any other ram breeding group in New Zealand.
All Ram lambs are put through worm resistance and worm resilience trial with the guidance from Ag Research scientists, this is our 16th year of selecting rams based on this trait. A recent inquiry from a local vet about our worm resistance and resilience programme helped to confirm the incredible advances the ARDG have made in this area. Have a look at the breeding value graphs here to see the genetic trends we have accomplished as a group especially for FE and worm FEC. genetictrendgraphsardg.pdf
Improved genetic gains equating into real production gains for lamb growth, fertility, disease and parasite resistance and survival rates.
With only two clinical signs of eczema on our entire farm this season, we know, given the extreme natural challenge our animals have withstood, we have achieved an incredible level of tolerance in our breeding programme.