In the heartland of North Canterbury, lies the secret to an award-winning recipe for producing New Zealand's most mouth-watering lamb. Jim Burrows, the innovative farmer behind Glenlake Farm's recent triumph at the Mint Lamb competition, sat down with Dominic George to discuss what makes his premium lamb.
"It's a bit of a surprise," Burrows humbly admitted when asked about his first-time entry's success at the competition.
His premium lamb is not just a testament to his farming prowess but a story woven with the threads of genetics, farm management, and an unwavering passion for excellence.
"I guess there's a bit of genetics," Burrows mused.
"Probably feeding. We're running a lot of loosun and clover and chicory mixes here and I think that's where we're getting our yields right up high being on those legumes as well as genetics."
Glenlake Farm spans a sprawling 840 hectares, and while the lamb takes centre stage, it's supported by a cast of cattle trading and diverse stock management. Burrows' approach is rooted in trial and error, with an ever-sharpening focus on what works.
"We're sort of starting to zero in a bit on what works pretty well for us now," he shared, hinting at the farm's ongoing evolution.
He elaborated on the specific breed that has become the cornerstone of his operation—the Longdown sheep.
"Where they excel is in the carcass traits, yield and, yeah, just growth rates," Burrows explained, detailing the breed's exceptional qualities.
His farm's meticulous breeding strategy has clearly paid off, as evidenced by the competition's taste tests that placed Glenlake's lamb above the rest.
For Burrows, however, the adventure extends beyond having a prize-winning lamb. It encompasses the day-to-day hustle and the pursuit of idyllic farm life.
So, the next time you savour a succulent cut of lamb, remember the likes of Jim Burrows, who, through innovation and a love for the land, continues to raise the bar in farming, ensuring that New Zealand lamb remains a cut above the rest.
Listen to the full chat between Jim Burrows and Dominic George above.