Renowned NZ Romney stud Wairere sells Australian operation

Emma Alsop, December 14, 2022

NEW ZEALAND-based Romney ram breeding operation, Wairere, has signaled its intention to exit Australia by bringing its Victorian operation to the market.

Wairere has owned the 1151-hectare aggregation, also named Wairere, since 2015.

Since purchasing the properties, located near Heywood in south-west Victoria, the company has built up a flourishing Romney stud and commercial flock of 5000 ewes.

Wairere also has a cattle operation that trades up to 600 head a year.

It is believed succession planning is behind the company’s move out of Australia. The current principal, Derek Daniell, is the third generation to lead the operation after taking over from his father, John Daniell in 1983.

Wairere Australia’s Pierre Syben said after several positive years at Victoria, it was the right time to shift focus back to New Zealand.

“It is time…and we have come to the point where we are ready to move back to our home base in New Zealand,” Mr Syben said.

“It will make things a bit simpler for us as everyone gets older.”

He said launching the Victorian operation has enabled Australian farmers and Wairere to share knowledge and develop relationships.

“It has been a really good business for us, and we have enjoyed making some really good relationships.

“Australian farmers have been to visit us in New Zealand,” he said.

“They have seen the New Zealand operation and, I guess, taken some ideas from it, as we have from Australia.”

The Victorian operation has the capacity to Winter 17,000 DSE. Photo: Nutrien Harcourts

Stud business sold to Ranken family at Hexham

Mr Syben said the stud business has been sold to an existing maternal composite ram breeding operation, Boonerah, located at Hexham, also in south-west Victoria. Boonerah is owned and managed by the Ranken family.

“They are a family farming operation which is of quite large-scale.

“We feel really comfortable selling it to them as they are a wonderful farming family, and we think they are a really good fit for the sheep,” he said.

“They will continue to use our name in the medium term.”

Boonerah director Lachie Ranken said he would continue to sell Wairere-blood Romney rams, as well as rams from the family’s established maternal composite flock. The two flocks will collectively have about 3500 performance recorded ewes. The Romneys will continue to be recorded on the NZ Sheep Improvement Limited system and the composites on LAMBPLAN.

“We’re very excited to have the opportunity to continue.

“Wairere has had close to 100 years of breeding Romneys and have pioneered a lot of things like hogget mating and performance recording,” he said.

“It’s great to be part of all that.”

Wairere’s base operation is based near Masterton in New Zealand’s North Island. The company also has businesses in United Kingdom, Chile, Uruguay and Brazil.

Family operation interest

Wairere’s Victorian property has already had interest from local, large-scale family operations.

Nutrien Harcourts Victoria agent Neil Hammond said he has already had a positive response to the listing.

“Large, well established families would be the type of party that would look to buy this,” Mr Hammond said.

The holding is an amalgamation of three interlinking properties – Wairere (268ha), Ettrick (388ha) and Ettrick Moor (495ha).

He said “it can be broken down and go two or three ways” with the smaller blocks suited to become starter farms and Ettrick Moor an ideal add-on block.

Ettrick Moor is also home to Wairere’s cattle operation and features cattle yards, fencing, ample reticulated and nature water supply and all weather B double truck access.

Mr Hammond said this block would fit a vendor looking for “perfect country for cattle wintering”.

The other two properties also feature extensive improvements and infrastructure from woolsheds, sheep yards and handling facilities and fencing.

The property has a range of soil types ranging from red clay loams, clay loams and stoney barrier country.

Over Wairere’s ownership, the company has undertaken a pasture renewal program, that included Summer cropping and perennial rye and clover mixes.

About 90 percent of the cultivable country is now renovated.

The Wairere enterprise has been listed for sale with no closing date.



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