British sheep go Green thanks to Kiwi Ingenuity

Published: Thu 10 Dec 2009 03:28 PM
Media Release
British sheep go Green thanks to Kiwi Ingenuity
A New Zealand firm, Rissington Breedline says it is reducing the carbon footprint of British sheep.
The Hawkes Bay firm says it is reintroducing sustainable sheep farming across the United Kingdom with its breeding programme on farms from Cornwall to the Orkney Islands. For several decades British sheep producers have relied on factory farming and wintering sheds which are carbon intensive.
Rissington farmer’s British flocks are now being converted by crossing the efficient, hardy and high welfare ‘Highlander’ maternal breed with the ‘Primera’ meat breed to produce great tasting lamb grown quickly from grass.
Rissington’s British business manager, Bayden Wilson says that this means that marginal British hill country, in threat of retirement from farming can be viable and continue to be used. ‘It’s a natural form of farming and is producing plenty of lambs.’
Mr Wilson says that the Rissington bloodline is already supplying half the year’s seasonal fresh lamb offering for Marks and Spencer’s retail chain, sourced from New Zealand. This volume is expected to double in the next year. With British farmers the goal is to build supply numbers so lamb can be offered over the entire 12 months.
The latest research presented at Invermay Research station in Southland shows that even allowing for the cost of shipping, export New Zealand lambs for the British market have a far smaller carbon footprint then British lambs grown under factory farming conditions.
Bayden Wilson says the Rissington breeding programs focus on ewe feed efficiency, fertility, longevity and lamb growth will also deliver on reducing the carbon footprint and increasing sustainable lamb production in both countries.
Rissington says they expect that the Rissington genetics will be exported to other European markets in the coming years.

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