Highly Productive Merino


We boldly aim to produce the perfect Highly Productive Merino. A Merino that not only produces wool and surplus sheep sales, perfect for our markets. But a Merino that is also able to thrive under New Zealand High Country conditions.  Through a careful balance of the use of science and stockmanship we are achieving our aims.

Since we have introduced the use of breeding values we are able to fully utilise the data we have collected on our animals for years.  This information is now completely integrated into our selection strategies and the rapid changes in the sheep are clearly evident.  Our initial strategy of largely eye appraisal had been very effective in improving the wool attributes and productivity of our flock. However it was difficult to identify the truly robust animals under this strategy. We have now completely embraced the use of ultrasound scanning for fat and muscle with the aim of breeding an animal that maintains higher condition score and higher welfare on the hill. The results are nothing short of amazing.  The change in shape of the animals is clear and our breeding objective is now to produce a moderate framed merino that has:

  1. Rapid early growth (PWT EBV of +7 or above)

  2. Matures early (YEMD EBV of 2.5+)

  3. Maintains condition score (YFAT EBV of 1.2+)

  4. Highly fertile with high lamb survival

  5. Natural resistance to internal parasites
    (YWEC EBV of -20 or lower)

  6. Enough wool (YCFW of +18% or above)

  7. The right fibre diameter ( YFD EBV of around -1)

  8. That can be shorn twice per year (YSL EBV of +20 or above)

  9. Bright, white, deep crimping wool

  10. Natural resistance to footrot.




The Middlehurst poll merino stud was established in 2000…

Since that time we have used the best genetics we can source to develop a unique Highly Productive Merino.  A plain bodied, dual purpose animal bred to thrive in New Zealand conditions and produce a fleece that meets the specifications for commercial contracts (length, style and micron) on a early maturing carcass.

The initial transformation of our flock was achieved through a careful and considered selective breeding programme to create the Middlehurst merino.  We sourced our sires from Wallaloo Park in Victoria, Australia. At the outset, we identified this stud as producing a type of merino that matched our objectives for heavier fleece weight and improved style on a plain body. By purchasing top sires and using them extensively we have developed a distinctive type over a relatively short period.


Science Infusion


Since the inception of our breeding program we have used DNA parentage and electronic tags to ensure the data we are collecting and our pedigree records are accurate.

Since the inception of our breeding program we have used DNA parentage and electronic tags to ensure the data we are collecting and our pedigree records are accurate.  The most important feature of the use of DNA parentage is that allows us to lamb our ewes in commercial conditions on the hill with sire groups all mixed in with each other.  In this way we are not inadvertently favouring or disadvantaging any individual animals. They all have the opportunity to express their genetic potential under commercial conditions.


Breeding Values – The Next Frontier


Once we had established the wool type we were after and were happy with the sheep type we introduced breeding values to improve some of the robustness attributes of our animals.

Again to achieve rapid gain on this front we sourced the best genetics in Australasia to achieve our aims and used them directly in the Middlehurst nucleus.  In a very short period of time, the Middlehurst merino has again taken a leap forward with some outstanding young animals evolving out of the nucleus.


Make Middlehurst Highly Productive Merino Your Sheep Type


We encourage commercial sheep farmers to come and see these animals first hand.

Explore the opportunities that this type of merino is providing for sheep farming in New Zealand.  With record prices for wool and long-term relationships the benefits of farming these sheep are immense. 

Contact Willie or Susan to find out more.


The Sire Battery


The rams that were used to create the 2017 sale team were without doubt the best group of sires we have ever assembled. They combined long & bold, free-growing wool, with great carcass attributes and amazing early growth. As well as great visual appeal with an even better set of breeding value data. Their sons, who were available for sale in January 2019, also displayed all of these great attributes.