Originally from Southland, they took over the farm in 2004 when it was 3300ha running 10,000 ewes and 500 breeding cows.
They have since downsized by 1000ha and consolidated with a focus on reducing costs and increasing production off a smaller area.
They now run 5000 ewes, 1500 hoggets and 240 breeding cows. Lambs are finished on heavyweight contracts on a brother’s farm at Onslow in Central Otago while calves are sold directly to Silver Fern Farms, though Jason and Tracey grow them out and are paid on a weight gain basis.
When the couple took over Cheddar Valley they inherited a traditional Hereford and Hereford-Angus breeding cow herd.
Jason says those cows just didn’t perform with an unacceptably high number of dry cows every year as well as a high incidence of cancer eye.
A change was needed so when the chance to buy 150 Rissington cows plus sire bulls from a local farmer arose, they took it.
All cattle on Cheddar Valley need to have an excellent temperament.