“Our aim at Wellwood over several generations, has been to produce sheep that are adapted to natural conditions on the farm, with well-defined, high quality wool and an economically productive animal for both wool and meat value,” says Robert Rubidge.
He lambs all his ewes on the veld, with the exception of his six-year and older ewes, some 200 to 300 of which are put on 15ha of hectares of irrigated pasture he has in Nieu Bethesda, where he consistently obtains 160% plus lambing percentage.
Wellwood has been in the Rubidge family since 1838.
The Graaff-Reinet Herald of December 15, 1860 carries an advertisement for a private sale on the farm Wellwood in the Graaff-Reinet district. Offering 600 to 800 Merino ewes from Charles Rubidge’s ‘Celebrated Flock’ it states: “These ewes need no recommendation as Rubidge has spared no expense in the improvement of his flock for the last 22 years. They are admitted to be the best Sheep in the Eastern Province, if not in the colony, combining Fineness, Weight of Fleece, and Carcase.”
The reason that Wellwood rams and ewes do so well is because they have consistently focused on the quality of our ewes.
“You sell a couple of rams on the sales but the breeding value is in the ewes,” says Rubidge.
Robert lambs once a year in spring and performance tests his stud ewes and ram lambs at ten months of age.
“Each year we use the best 10 – 12 eighteen-month-old stud rams, mating them to between 60 and 70 stud ewes. These rams are then offered on the national sale in September,” he says. “We sell flock rams out of hand in March every year,” explains Robert.
“From 2016 we will also sell some rams on the Phoenix Merinos sales.”
His flock rams sell for an average of R4 000 to R8000 on the farm while the average price for his rams at the national sale can go up to R27 000. The highest ever price achieved by a Wellwood stud ram ever is Sir Richard at R190 000 in 2012 at the national sale.
He also runs Boran cross cattle.