It’s better late than never at Armidale

WET conditions have created an interesting breeding season at the state’s biggest thoroughbred stud.

Foaling season at the Whishaw family’s Armidale Stud at Carrick is in its final weeks with more than 80 foals now on the ground.

David Whishaw said the unseasonably wet conditions had seen a number of mares go over their due dates this year.

“It definitely has an impact. We’ve had a lot of mares go late just because it’s been so wet and cold and we haven’t had the sunshine,” he said.

The cooler conditions have also seen the dry mares failing to cycle properly which Mr Whishaw said makes getting them in foal more difficult.

“We had one go just shy of seven weeks over which is a new record for us.” Mr Whishaw said late foaling makes getting the mares back in foal at the right time more challenging.

“In theory it’s day length that triggers them cycling, but in our experience and from dealing with thousands of mares over the years the weather also has an impact.

“They need green grass and the consistent warm weather and sunshine.

That’s what will get them cycling properly.”

Breeding seasons is a busy time at the stud, which has its own broodmares and also foals down a number of mares for clients.

The stud stands three resident stallions, Needs Further, Alpine Eagle and the 27-year-old Tough Speed.

It is unusual to see a stallion still working at 27.

“He’s an amazing old boy and even though he’s in his twilight years he still loves it and gets 100 per cent of his mares in foal,” Mr Whishaw said.

“I think part of the reason he is still so fit and sound now is because he’s never been overworked and had huge books of mares, so I think that’s probably why his fertility is still so good too.”

Like many farms this spring Armidale saw flooding over parts of its production area.

However, Mr Whishaw said investment in underground drainage over the years, particularly in the paddocks used for mares and foals had paid off this season.

“It makes such a huge difference,” he said.

“Even after 100mm of rain we could get back out on the paddock the next day with vehicles but before there’s no way we could have done that.”