Top performers in the sheep industry have been touted as ''rock stars'' at the third annual Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) Sheep Industry Awards celebrating excellence and recognising the important role ram breeders play.
This year the awards shifted from the Southland to Napier and B+LNZ chief executive officer Dr Scott Champion said while the awards are only three years old, they are already a flagship event on the sheep industry calendar.
"This event highlights the fantastic genetics available to New Zealand sheep farmers and how these can drive improved farm performance.
''It is also a great opportunity for the sector to get together to acknowledge the work of the winners and finalists and celebrate the sector's contribution to New Zealand.
"It's no wonder New Zealand is at the forefront of sheep farming internationally with such passionate and astute individuals dedicated to progressing the genetic merit of our national flock," he said.
Ten genetics-based awards and five sector excellence awards were presented with South Island farmers taking home the majority of awards.
The Blackdale sheep industry supplier of the year award was presented to Mark and Rachel and Sam and Keri Zino of Zino Holdings Limited, who are suppliers to ANZCO. Dr Neville Jopson received the Focus Genetics sheep industry science award. The Primary ITO sheep industry trainer of the year award went to Wairarapa-based Taratahi Agricultural Training Centre.
Despite robust judging criteria, judges were unable to single out a winner in the Farmlands individual or business making a significant contribution to the New Zealand sheep industry award. Steve Wyn-Harris of Hawke's Bay and Roger Marshall of Marton were named joint winners. The Allflex sheep industry innovation award was presented to Andy Ramsden of Wanaka.
Two gold awards were presented within the genetics-based categories. Mount Linton Station's Suftex stud based in Southland received the Alliance Group Limited terminal sire overall award. The Telford dual purpose overall award went to Peter and Marion Black's Blackdale Coopworth stud, Riverton.
A special NZ Sheep Breeding Award was made to Dr Chris Morris for his contribution to Science.
2014 Beef + Lamb New Zealand Sheep Industry Genetic Trait Awards:
Gold award: Alliance Group terminal sire award for lamb growth and meat yield - Mount Linton Station, Mount Linton Suftex, Ohai, Southland.
Gold award: Telford dual purpose award for reproduction, lamb growth plus adult size and wool production - Blackdale Stud, Blackdale Coopworth, Peter and Marion Black, Riverton,
SIL-ACE terminal sire for lamb growth - Mount Linton Station, Mount Linton Suftex, Ohai, Southland.
SIL-ACE terminal sire for meat yield - Focus Genetics, Kepler Supreme, Landcorp Te Anau.
SIL-ACE dual purpose for reproduction - Nithdale Station, Nithdale Romney, Heather and Andrew Tripp, Kaiwera, Southland.
SIL-ACE dual purpose for growth - Twin Farm, Twin Farm TEFRom, Russell, Pam and Andrew Welsh, Gore.
SIL-ACE dual purpose for internal parasite resistance - Nithdale Station, Nithdale Romney, Heather and Andrew Tripp, Kaiwera, Southland.
SIL-ACE dual purpose for facial eczema tolerance - Focus Genetics, Waihora Romney, Landcorp Waihora, Nightcaps.
Primary Wool Cooperative dual purpose for wool - Blackdale Stud, Blackdale Coopworth, Peter and Marion Black, Riverton.
Progressive Meats dual purpose for meat yield - Newhaven Farms, Newhaven Perendale, Jane and Blair Smith, Oamaru.
Blackdale sheep industry supplier of the year - Mark & Rachel, Sam & Keri Zino (Zino Holdings Ltd), Hawarden, Canterbury – supplying ANZCO
Focus Genetics sheep industry science award – Dr Neville Jopson, AbacusBio, Dunedin.
PrimaryITO sheep industry trainer of the year - Taratahi Agricultural Training Centre, Masterton.
Farmlands individual or business making a significant contribution to the New Zealand sheep industry - Steve Wyn-Harris, Hawke's Bay and Roger Marshall, Marton.
Allflex sheep industry innovation award - Andy Ramsden, Wanaka.