The Kelso flock began in 1970 as a Coopworth flock. In 1983 Kelso founder Roger Marshall was invited by the government to select Finn, Texel and Oxford sheep with Dr Leyden Baker and subsequently ran a quarantine station on Tutu Totara farm. This was the catalyst for him to start stud flocks of both breeds in 1990.

In 1995 several top East Friesians were included in the ‘stable of breeds,’ and the decision was made to combine the various qualities of the Finns, Texels and East Friesians into a composite sheep breed. The Coopworth flock, incorporating several high performance Romney rams, was then used as base.

By 2007 the flock had developed to seventh generation stock with between 68% and 75% of the original hybrid vigour retained. This was achieved by the use of top ram hoggets and consistently mating ewe hoggets. The productive traits of the flock have contined to progress, with type being of great importance which gives us the sheep as it is today. The inclusion of traits such as facial eczema and body condition score (ewe efficiency) will help take the flock into the future.


No-one knows more about what’s best for your farm business than you. Kelso farmers want access to genetic gain for the traits that contribute most to their profitability, from a stable, fully recorded base, they can trust.

We listen in order to understand the diverse needs of our farmers. Then we constantly review our trait selection so that each farmer can select the Kelso rams most suited to their particular needs.



Right from the start, Kelso Genetics have been built on thinking. It goes right back to the 1970’s when founder, Roger Marshall asked “Why limit the potential of our sheep by ‘straight-jacketing’ genetic diversity and being bound by strict breed society rules?”

Kelso is constantly thinking about how best to apply new genes for maximum, sustainable genetic gains in order to optimise diversity and growth and enhance sheep farm profitability.



From pioneering composite sheep breeding to developing groundbreaking early computerised breed systems, Kelso has been built on innovation.

Likewise, our farmers are progressive thinkers who want great ram genetics to drive their business ahead. It’s the same with our technology partners AbacusBio, who run our genetic engine and Zoetis Genetics and AgResearch. Together we’ve developed a genetic programme that maximises the speed and consistency of Kelso’s genetic progress so that we can continue to develop the best possible animal for a particular farming system, land type or climate.

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