For Allan and Sonia Richardson, it is all about passion. Passion for the area they farm, for their lifestyle, and for producing top quality meat, wool and genetics.
Their farms, Avalon and Bonnieview, are found high up in the rolling hills of West Otago. With most of their land between 400-500m altitude they can have cold wet winters with several snowfalls. Once a summer reliable climate, now two in five years can be very dry. Our average stocking rate is 11.3 stock units/ha puts maximum pressure on sheep under a once in a lifetime drench program. Our aim is that our naturally disease-resistant sheep and cattle enjoy lush, green grasses, fresh mountain air, and live with minimal intervention and stress.
Colin's first farm was called Avalon and it was rundown but he made it one of the most productive farms in the district. Allan and Sonia saw future possibilities with the land. They wanted to farm in a more sustainable way, allowing for opportunities for future generations, and reflect the proud farming traditions Colin began.
Allan and Sonia began using organic methods in 1998 gaining AsureQuality organic certification in August 2001. They are now keen to share their knowledge of organic farming, helping farmers make a successful move into organic farming through their Avalon Farming ™ and Avalon Genetics™ systems.
We genuinely think that organic farming practices enhance our opportunity to do well by our business, our family, our clients, and our consumers. Avalon Genetics have left our organically farmed management system to conventional farms all over New Zealand where they have more than matched the performance of the conventionally bred sheep they are farmed with.
We know genetically that in a high input traditional system our sheep are ranked in the top 5% of New Zealand genetics. In a low input system, we believe our genetics are 40-60% better than comparable worm resistant genetics.
Avalon Genetics is part of 12,500 stock units, 1,300 ha of fully organic sheep and beef properties made up of Bonnieview (500hs) and Avalon (800ha),
Allan, James and Colin (deceased 2014).
Scott and Kjersti Walker with daughter, Nina, have joined our Bonnieview farm as equity partners.
We started organic farming 20years ago. Organics is the maximum challenge a sheep can have and it has become one of Avalon Genetics major advantages over other studs.