Perfection is boring for 88-year-old Romney breeder Gordon Levet. His wife, Trish, agrees after she cuts his hair, sometimes leaving one side a little longer than the other.

But the same couldn’t be further from the truth when it comes to his 34 years of breeding for worm resistance in the Kikitangeo Romney Stud flock he took over from his father and uncle in 1951.

A crowd of up to 100 gathered at the Wellsford saleyards on February 24 for its dispersal sale and to wish the Levets well. There were tributes from former and present Romney NZ Council presidents who said Gordon, first a councillor then president, had challenged its old, conservative guard. He championed the formation of its promotion committee and built invaluable communication links with researchers.

On behalf of the stock and station industry, Carrfields genetics specialist Bruce Orr said Gordon had shown foresight and impeccable integrity as well as being exceptionally humble.

A message from the Minister for Primary Industries (MPI) Damien O’Connor was read by Clare Callow, general manager of the NZ Animal Breeding Trust, who has worked with Gordon and his flock since 1967. He congratulated Gordon, saying worm resistance as a genetic option in the sheep industry ticked all the boxes, and the sale would accelerate progress in other flocks.

“It’s better for the sheep, it is better for the farmer with less labour and cost input and it can be better for New Zealand’s trade image using fewer chemicals in the food chain.”

Always looking to the future Gordon said although he was disappointed the stud would not carry on he’d already written back to the minister asking that more research be carried out comparing resistant and non-resistant sheep.

Then it was on to the sale of the 856 sheep penned with the top priced of four stud rams going for $5200, with the pick of the ewes reaching up to $2000 each.