About Orari Gorge Romneys

The Orari Gorge Romney stud was started in 1982 by Ian Dent alongside the Canterbury Romney Group Breeding scheme which was based at Orari Gorge Station. The aim was to produce an open faced, structurally sound, easy care Romney with good conformation and constitution. The ewes have to get in lamb reliably, stay in lamb through the winter despite snow storms and then lamb unassisted and look after and feed her lambs. Structure and type are still the corner stone behind our selection. We have a raised race which allows us to really inspect feet and legs, every ram is individually inspected at least three times before being offered for sale.

Single sire mating and tagging all lambs at birth, regular weighing of progeny (up to 18 months to get a mature ewe weight), fleece weighing, eye muscle scanning and individual faecal egg samples and dag scores ensures all aspects of production and health are measured and taken into account. All ram lambs are run as one mob from weaning to sale to give a fair comparison. As well as individually worm testing all ram hoggets for resistance to worms we are also selecting for resilience following the SIL protocol, we are the only stud (of any breed) in the South Island to be doing this.

Stud ewe lambs are run with the Orari Gorge Station commercial lambs in one mob of up to 2000 to ensure they are tested in true commercial conditions, often on the tussock hill country with regular culling of those that can’t handle the selection pressure. The ewes (including 2ths) have not been drenched for 20 years, either at mating time or even pre or post lambing. Feet have not been treated in any way for over 25 years, this year we DNA tested our replacement 2th rams and found 6 out of 8 were 1:1 for footrot and all were A:A for cold tolerance.

It is important to have a balanced approach to breeding. Targeting single traits will soon get you in trouble because a ram that is particularly good at one trait could have a high overall index even if it is bad at a few other traits. This means the profit you gain from one trait improving will quickly be lost by other traits reducing. Because of this we look at every breeding value and only choose the rams that are good at everything. With nearly 8,000 commercial ewes we are our own biggest client so we want to get it right.



We have many satisfied repeat clients, some have been buying for over 20 years now. Here are a few testimonials:

“I believe the best way to get long lasting ewes is to use long lasting rams. I mate each Orari Gorge Romney Ram to 150 ma ewes; the progeny keep performing and I usually get six years out of a ram.”
- David Morrow, long term client from Mt. Somers(averages over 150% lambs weaned per ewe mated and was PPCS livestock farmer of the year 2005,  and is regularly one of Canterbury Meat Packers’ top 10 lamb breeder suppliers.


"Our operation has been buying rams from Orari Gorge for over ten years; we have been impressed by their robustness. We also like the full range of information given through the “SIL” dual purpose production index. The rams continue to perform well, including over the last two very difficult seasons. We see benefit in the stud ewes at Orari Gorge running under the same conditions as the flock ewes - i.e. no pampering".
- Jim and Rob Lawson, Waikouaiti.


“We tried rams from a few different studs and kept the progeny separate to compare the results. The conformation and constitution of the progeny of the Orari Gorge Romney rams impressed us the most and we have been back to buy more rams.”
- Karl Thompson, stock manager for Craigmore farming Co.


“Scanning flocks using Orari Gorge Romneys in a variety of climates impressed me enough to buy their rams; the rams last well and the ewes keep performing through the tough times.”
Miles Anderson, sheep scanner and farmer


“We like the Orari Gorge Romney stud for their innovative and progressive approach to breeding. They produce high performance, low input Romneys.”
Gil & Gill Coles, long time ram buyer

“I find the Orari Gorge commercial Romneys (sired by the Orari Gorge Romney rams) to have excellent conformation, and they always yield well with good carcass traits”.
- Grant Robertson, SSF drafter

Please contact us any time for more information or to arrange a visit