Valais Blacknose New Zealand (VBNZ)

Flocks No. 1 Heartland & No. 2 Stratheden - Established 2017 & 2018

VBNZ is a partnership set up in 2016 between Sally & Lindsay Strathdee and farmer/biosecurity expert Christine Reed.
The business trades as Valais Blacknose Breeders NZ Inc.


Sally and Lindsay Strathdee are fulltime farmers near Motueka (250 acres: 106ha including 12ha QE2 covenanted bush) 50km north-west of Nelson. With around 150 beef cattle, the primary business is beef-fattening.

Sally and Lindsay also run a busy farm homestay cottage with their daughter Jess, where visitors “breakfast with the Valais”. The flock is registered as “Stratheden”.

Christine Reed farms a variety of interesting sheep breeds in South Wairarapa on 20 acres (8 ha), including the Valais, English Leicester, Poll Dorset, Drysdales and Jacob patterned sheep, while also working off-farm in a full-time role managing the science & risk assessment team in MPI Biosecurity. Christine’s flock are registered as “Heartland”.

Valais Blacknose New Zealand are proud to be working with top UK breeders to bring the best Valais Blacknose to New Zealand. Many of our first embryos in 2017 were from top breeder Jamie Woods from Prendwick farm in Northumberland.

In 2014 Prendwick Farm was one of the first to purchase Valais Blacknose Sheep in the UK and later brought in 10 ewes and a ram from Switzerland before the borders closed.

Sally and Lindsay Strathdee

Jamie was the top points breeder at the second Blacknose Beauties Beauties show in Carlisle in 2017 and in the top two breeders in 2016 and 2018 – the other being Raymond Irvine and Jenni McAllistair of Highland Valais in Scotland who have taken out the National Supreme Champion title at Carlisle three years in a row.

We implanted in June 2017 and later in October had the most gorgeous 16 lambs on the ground – 9 girls and 7 boys. Miraculously, one of the embryos implanted in Sally and Lindsay’s flock resulted in twin girls! A very unusual event but very welcome.

The focus of Valais Blacknose NZ is the import and breeding of top-quality animals for the enjoyment of New Zealanders (primarily on small land holdings) and export of genetics into international markets. We were the first to export semen into Canada where our rams Stratheden Alexander and Heartland Aragorn now have F1 lambs on the ground. We also now have semen from both of these rams in the USA while embryos are not yet approved for import.

Christine Reed
Christine Reed

Valais Blacknose NZ has gone from strength to strength since then. Our Facebook page now has over 15,000 followers and we are receiving daily emails from all over the world for imports and a substantial interest in New Zealand as well. At the 2018 National UK show in Carlisle, England, Valais Blacknose NZ was extremely lucky to outbid other interest to purchase Highland Egbert from Raymond Irvine for a record 10,000 guineas and two other Highland ewes – Diamond and Deedee to begin our own embryo collection programme. Highland Egbert offers a very unique bloodline to us in NZ that is not yet available in the UK either. His offspring will be born in Spring 2019.

Our first New Zealand bred lambs were born last December with some stunning lambs from crossing the best of the two top breeders’ genetics in the UK.

We have a market advantage in NZ for export into the huge demand in North America in having a favorable biosecurity status here that allows us to be pioneering in the export of our NZ-generated semen.
We are also exploring the potential use of our NZ-bred rams as terminal sires with a phenomenal growth rate of these lambs that are such a strikingly attractive animal in the paddock.

Twin ewe lambs from 2017. This photo went viral on social media and has led to immense interest in the breed.
Twin ewe lambs from 2017. This photo went viral on social media and has led to immense interest in the breed.

Our profile internationally as lead importers and exporters was recently highlighted through our sponsorship of the national Valais Blacknose sheep classes in the UK, and our.purchase at record prices of ewes and rams at the 2018 National UK Valais auction. Our animals will remain in Scotland and be bred from, since the import of live animals into NZ remains prohibited for the foreseeable future .
We are extremely privileged to be working with a top NZ felter, Sabin Imhasly, to promote the wool. Sabin is herself from the Valais region in Switzerland, now resident in Upper Hutt, and delighted to be working with the Valais wool that originated from her home region.

Valais Blacknose wool is being marketed as a high value crafters’ wool, as it has unique felting and dying properties:

Our first import of embryos have been from two rams and three ewes from Valais Blacknose Sheep Scotland and another two rams and four ewes from Valais Blacknose Sheep Northumberland.

We have also used Gemstones Bernard (courtesy of Whitehall Valais Blacknose Sheep Scotland).

2017 Heartland ram lamb by Eros
2017 Heartland ram lamb by Eros