Meat & Wool Innovation  
Home Farm Tech Markets Training Quality Sheep & Wool Economic Service
NewsInnovation Magazine   Media About Us Links Sitemap
Home > Sheep & Wool > Sheep breeds >

New Zealand Sheep breeds


One of Britain's oldest sheep breeds, the Ryeland has been used as a dual-purpose breed for over 600 years. It takes its name from the monks of Leominster, who bred the sheep in rye-growing areas of South Herefordshire. It has a hardy constitution and thrives in most sheep countries.

The breed was first imported to New Zealand in 1903 and served as a prime lamb sire for crossbred and halfbred stock. At the peak of its popularity in the 1930s and 1940s there were several hundred flocks, but numbers have declined to 26 registered flocks today.

The fleece has a soft handle, springiness and dense staple with practically no kemps or black and grey fibres. The clean white wool is suitable for textiles requiring a smooth finish and good resilience. It is used to produce high-quality tweeds and hosiery.

Meat breed used as a terminal crossing sire. Short Down wool.

Scattered throughout the country.

Moderate-sized, thickset sheep with a white gave and legs that are usually covered with wool.


Body weight:
Ewes: 55–60 kg
Rams: 73–80 kg

Wool production:
Fibre diameter 26–32 microns
Staple length 75–100 mm
Fleece weight 3–4 kg

Lamb production:
100–120 per cent


Copyright © Meat & Wool Innovation Ltd.

Home | Farm Tech | Markets | Training | Quality | Sheep & Wool | Economic Service
News | Magazine | Media | About Us | Links | Sitemap