Breeding
Profitable
Sheep.

"There is a very good chance that any farmers who purchase an eczema tolerant Romney ram from any breeder has Reeves genetics in their flock."

— Dr. Clive Dalton

Our vision at Waimai Romney is to breed rams that have the right combination of health and production traits, while being structurally sound, to enable New Zealand hill country sheep farmers to maximise profits.

Production Traits

Reproduction
Survival
Meat & Growth

Health Traits

Facial Eczema
Worm Resistance
Cold Tolerance

Structural Traits

Physical Soundness
Breed Type

On the wild
Waikato coast.

The Waimai Romney Stud is situated on the West Coast of Waikato, north of Raglan Harbour in the Te Akau district. The property has been farmed by the Reeves Family since 1932 and today totals 800 effective hectares, of which 180 is leased, of steep to rolling hill country.The stud is managed by Alastair Reeves and today comprises around 900 SIL (Sheep Improvement Ltd) recorded ewes.

The climate is very challenging, wet in the winter and summer dry, with the major animal health issues being facial eczema and intestinal worms.

Pioneers in
Genetic Breeding.

1932

The Reeves family came to the Waimai Valley from Tologa Bay on the East Coast.

1938

Whatawhata farmer Togo Johnstone, on behalf of Waikato Federated Farmers, pressured the Government to direct Dr CP McMeekan from Lincoln College to set up the Ruakura Animal Research Station to find the cause of facial eczema, how to prevent it and cure it.

1956

The Waimai Romney Stud was started by John Reeves with the purchase of 31 ewes from Arthur Southey.

Early 1980's

The fungus responsible for facial eczema was identified. John Reeves, with some of his neighbours, had noticed that not all sheep got the disease, encouraging the study of the genetics of such animals.

"The result was a massive breakthrough where scientists came up with a protocol where the fungus was grown in the lab, the toxin extracted, and young rams were dosed with small amounts to measure their resistance. Rams with high resistance were then used as future sires."
— Dr. Clive Dalton

1986

The Reeves acknowledged that facial ezema was stopping the potential of the animals. The Reeves continuous ramgard eczema testing programme begins, pioneering this activity and starting the journey of allowing the animals to express its genetic potential in other areas.

“There’s been a lot of hard work; expense and sacrifice to some good sheep over the years to get a pool of genes capable of mitigating this cruel disease.”
— Bruce Orr

2001

Waimai Romney is Flock 33 and started performance recording on Studfax (which is now called Sheep Improvement Ltd (SIL)) December 2001. Now having over 900 ewes fully recorded.

2005

Waimai Romney focuses on internal parasites which cost the sheep industry massive amounts of lost income in poor performance and dagging and crutching. They started selecting for worm resistance by facial egg counting ram hoggets.

"The Reeveses' flock has made spectacular progress and their rams are in great demand by farmers wanting to cut down costs, and not end up with worms that became resistant to chemical drenches, which is an ever-increasing risk."
— Dr. Clive Dalton

2006

With further access to testing, Cold Tolerance testing added to lamb survival, and gene marker testing for footrot starting being recorded.

2007

Waimai Romney Started mating ewe hoggets allowing further genetic progress. This identifies the animals that are more fecund, promoting selection pressure to improve reproduction performance.

2012

After 30 years of hard dedicated work, a group of breeders formed a group called FEGold which identified those breeders leading facial eczema genetics.

2013

Started EMA scanning all sale rams hoggets, actively seeking high meat and growth sires.

2018

Waimai Romney becomes WormFEC GOld accredited.

Sires average in the top 10% of DPCR (reproduction). Further sheep statistics can be viewed here.

Rams to be sold at the Mid-Northern Sale, Thursday 1st November, Claudlands showground, Hamilton.

"Cheap rams are costly. The opportunity cost of buying average or unrecorded rams can be tens of thousands of dollars."
— Beef & Lamb Genetics

John Reeves
The pioneer

"Dad loved farming and was very passionate about it and especially about genetics and all its challenges. He had absolute confidence in himself, and self-belief that what he was doing was right and one day it would benefit the wider farming community.

This self-belief was imperative as he went down a genetic pathway focusing on eczema tolerance, while most of his contemporaries went down another pathway, and thought that John was a bloody idiot. Thirty years later, John has proved the doubters, that he was right, and the rest were wrong, and where Waimai Romney is today is a credit to his perseverance.

Waimai Romney are one of only a handful of sheep breeders throughout New Zealand who have both FeGold and WormFec Gold Accreditation, which goes to show that Dad was a true pioneer in sheep genetic breeding.”

— Alastair Reeves