About Us



The Blacks of Ermedale (Blackdale) settled in the district in 1924 moving south from Canterbury onto a small undeveloped 53-hectare block. Like many families at the time, a variety of stock (dairy, beef, sheep, and horse) were run on the farm as well as cropping. Peter the youngest of six took over the farm in 1956 and started to focus on sheep production and farm development. Using his knowledge gained from Lincoln Peter along with wife Marion started sheep stud breeding in 1969 with the development of the Coopworth Stud flock No.77 with intensive performance recording.

Now a 328-hectare intensive sheep breeding operation, with Sires of several breeds going all over New Zealand and some as far as North and South America, Australia, UK and more recently we have used Elite Texel genetics from the UK.

Blackdale Stud has been involved in many trials over the years, from breed comparisons to breed society sire progeny testing and scientific research including the development of AI in sheep through to industry good programs such as Ovita and DNA development.

All the breeding programs at Blackdale Stud centre on Quality and Quantity with reduced Cost. Expensive or genetically enhancing inputs are not used at Blackdale, no capsules or long-acting drenches, no concentrate ad-lib feeding.

Blackdale stock is run at commercial 15 sheep/ha stocking rates and have a proud history of high performance.


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With a breeding experience of a combined 100 years, Peter and Marion have a wealth of knowledge in animal genetics. Peter a graduate of Lincoln College as Gold Medalist DipAg 1955 soon put his skills to work with Marion's keen bookkeeping ability.

Starting out in the 1960’s recording animal performance which they used in tandem with structural assessment techniques gained from their Young Farmer stock judging days.

Over the years Peter and Marion have done many trips overseas looking at sheep breeding, animal research and stock judging. A number of breeds and crosses have been trialled by Peter and Marion and undergone careful consideration. Active involvement in breeding groups and social roles have added to knowledge held.

Client feedback and success along with improving genetic gain in their animals has been a crucial part of their ongoing inspiration and passion towards the sheep breeding industry. Peter and Marion also found the time to raise 5 children who also have been active in farming and animal breeding. Marion’s hobby is selecting and dyeing high quality crossbred wools for home spinning, craft work, and Kiwi Crocheting Aircell blankets for the family.

Leon and Wendy have been active in Blackdale since the early 1990s. Leon returned to Blackdale after completing University at Lincoln and Minnesota. Both Leon and Wendy were active in Young Farmers, but now with four children tend to focus their efforts towards school and sports endeavours.

Leon has had roles as a Director of the NZ Meat Board, Beef+Lamb New Zealand, Ovita Ltd, AgITO, PGgRc (Pastoral Greenhouse Gases Research Consortia) and TriLamb (USA, Australia, and New Zealand lamb promotion). Along with roles within breed societies and various industry groups. Leon is currently a director of Beef & Lamb Genetics NZ.

Leon and Wendy have undertaken study trips around the globe looking at animal recording systems and sheep breeding. They both regularly keep up on developments and Wendy as well as helping with the day to day operation of the farm continues to liaise with clients and ensure newsletters and enquiries along with orders are efficiently managed.

Wendy likes helping in the community and has several ongoing positions within numerous volunteer organizations in the community.

Blackdale has also been well assisted over the years by numerous casual employees many of whom come from overseas and bring their own special skills to Blackdale. We acknowledge the assistance of key people such as our recording services, scanners and AI experts who aid our overall ability for ongoing improvement.




Peter is an integral part of the team having dedicated over 60 years to breeding the best sheep in New Zealand.  Peter is a Life Member of the ...




Marion plays an important role from recording keeping to assisting in the shed and the like along with years of hospitality towards clients.  Marion is very passionate about ...




Leon is striving to breed the best genetics in his sheep and passing this on to our many clients.  Leon has stood on various industry boards and is ...



Wendy is responsible for the management of employees and accounts, client liaison and communication.  Wendy also has some off-farm Board responsibilities in the local community.