International Array of Speakers at Levet Field Day

18/09/2003 10:00:08 PM

TO celebrate 50 years of sheep breeding, well-respected Wellsford farmer Gordon Levet will be holding an on-farm field day on October 22.

Mr Levet says it will “focus on the attributes my sheep have excelled in”.

He took over the farm in the early 1950s from his father and uncle, who began farming there in 1922, and runs it with wife Trish.

Renowned among the agricultural science circles, Mr Levet is well known for breeding resistance to footrot and facial eczema in his sheep, as well as 15 years of testing for worm resistance /d longer than any breeder in New Zealand.

The field day, which runs from 10am to 4pm, includes several notable speakers, including Professor Brian Kirkpatrick of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Amy Bell of CSIRO Livestock Industries Australia.

New Zealand speakers, apart from Mr Levet, include Dr John Hickford of Lincoln University; Dr Chris Morris, a geneticist from Ruakura AgResearch; his colleague, Dr John McEwen of Invermay, Dunedin; and Nick Nicholson, Wool Experters’ Council.

Mr Levet says the topics covered and the calibre of the speakers is generating interest among those in the sheep breeding industry.

“I am pretty well known among the scientific community in New Zealand, so it didn’t take much to convince these experts to speak,” he says.

“I have tended to challenge conventional thinking and I have sent some pretty heated letters to scientists during the years.”

And, he says, with some success. He has made scientists discard several years of research after disproving their theories in his own trials.

Aside from being informative, Mr Levet says there are other reasons for farmers to attend.

“Apart from my stud sheep, there is a cow that in three calvings has had three sets of triplets.

“Three clones of this cow, presently at Ruakura, will also be on the farm. She has got to be a freak — one in many millions.”

Mr Levet says finding the fertility gene in cattle is the holy grail of ag science.

The Levet farm now boasts 19 lots of farm forestry from 0.5ha to 10ha each. Trees range from eucalypts, macrocapa, hardwoods and poplars, among others.

All this diversity will be on show at the field day, which is sponsored by Wrightson, Richmond and Ballance. A light lunch will be provided and a tour of the property is sure to be an eye-opening experience.

Contact Gordon Levet, phone 09 423-7034

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