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4 December 2023
Over the Farm Gate
Market Commentary

‘Remarkable’ reduction sale of Valais Blacknose

Rare opportunity to buy ‘world’s cutest sheep’.

A reduction sale featuring a rare sheep breed that is winning fans the world over should attract plenty of interest in February, just in time for Valentine’s Day.

 Swiss heritage breed Valais Blacknose are reckoned to be the cutest sheep in the world. Easily recognisable, they have a striking black face and ears, long spiral horns, dense curly white wool, and black patches on the knees, hocks, and feet. Their temperament matches their good looks: extremely docile and friendly they are easy to handle and reckoned by their owners to love people us as much as people love them. 

 Tararua stud, Remarkable Valais, was founded in 2016 after Robyn How and Sue Wylie were introduced to the breed in the United Kingdom, since then they have been one of New Zealand’s Valais pioneers.

 “As soon as we discovered this amazing breed, we were won over by their looks, docility, and loving temperament. They are hardy and able to thrive in challenging environments; their wool is dense, soft, and has a distinctive curl; while the heritage breed has a long history, its limited distribution outside its native region contributes to its rarity and exclusivity; and the visually striking appearance of Valais Blacknose sheep makes them popular subjects for photography and social media. 

 “Knowing the large investment necessary, we put together a group of New Zealand farmers, vets, and geneticists to enable the importation of semen and embryos of these amazing sheep to New Zealand. 

 “We are privileged to be one of the first breeder partnerships to bring Valais to New Zealand. We are breeding our Valais using the stringent original Swiss breed society standards, and are now able to make a limited number of stock available for sale,” says Robyn How.

 Scheduled for 13 February at the Feilding saleyards, on the eve of Valentine’s Day, the Remarkable Valais sale will feature approximately 50 lots, comprising ram and ewe lambs, hoggets, mature rams, and mixed age ewes, including some pregnant and some with lambs at foot.

 Although evidence of the breed goes back to the 15th Century, the first Upper Valais Sheep Breeders Association was founded in Switzerland in 1948, and they were only included in the Swiss Sheep Breeders’ Association in 1964.

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