Otematata Station has 30,000 merino sheep residing on the property along with 300 Hereford and Angus cross cattle.
The merino flock is made up of wethers, rams, ewes, and a stud flock.
The sprawling high country is suitable for running wethers, which roam the vast land for the majority of the year with minimal human interaction (twice a year in fact).
The 10,000 strong flock are mustered in Autumn to bring them to lower country for the winter months to avoid snow and the colder temperatures. They are then placed on their lower wintering high country, where we won’t see them again until the Spring at shearing time.
Once shorn and their health is checked, the wethers are taken back to the tops of the property to their Summer country to roam until Autumn.
OUR STUD FLOCK
We are members of the New Zealand Sheepbreeders Association, and here at Otematata we aim to further our Merino genetics to enhance the natural properties of our merino wool.
We have a stud flock of 400 ewes and 228 rams. The objective of the stud flock is to provide the genetics required to increase the quality in our commercial flock.
The glorious curling rams horns that are synonymous with the iconic image of merino breeding can be found here at Otematata. We have 407 rams, which have either been bred on-farm, or any particular properties that we desire have been sourced and bought from Armidale Merino Stud.
The ewes get a little more attention throughout the year to include pregnancy scans, feet health checks, as well as being shifted to and from different pastures (as their body needs the extra nutrients and feed at different stages during the year).
The hill country blocks offer a favourable environment for our cattle to thrive, and our calves often top the local calf sales. The calves are predominately sold to a farm in Omarama only 40 kilometres away, which makes for short travel time and reduces stress on the animals.
The cows are Hereford, and we use a team of Hereford, Angus and Simmental bulls to produce high-quality beef animals. To mitigate stress on the first time mothers, we use an Angus bull to reduce calf size, which makes birthing easier for the cow.
All Hereford heifers are retained for the purpose of maintaining our herd size.