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Vandaag zijn de lammeren gescaned op spierdikte en vetlaag. Wat opviel was dat de lammeren mooi uniform er ‘onderhuids’uitzagen. Meesten zaten zo rond de 30 mm spier en 3 mm vet. Unifiorme karkassen! Onze top ram dit jaar zat zelf op een gewicht van 56 kilo met 37,6 mm spier en 3 mm vet. En dat op nog geen 12 weken leeftijd!
Alle gegevens worden verwerkt in het scan project van het NFSO en ISG. Daarnaast zijn alle gegevsn ook opgestuurd naar Engeland zodat in de volgende ronde alle indexen zichtbaar zijn in BASCO.
Vandaag hoorde ik van Ning. Ning is een mogelijkheid om eenvoudig een ‘ community’ op te richten zodat je met een aantal mensen met wie je een interesse of hobby deelt je ervaringen en gedachten kan delen. Bij mij kwam meteen op dat het wel heel aardig zou zijn om met Suffolk Schapen fokkers zo iets op te zetten. Dus maar meteen de stoute schoenen aangetrokken. En zie hier!
Op deze webcommunity zijn alle suffolk enthousiastelingen van harte welkom. Ik hoop dat het een mogelijkheid gaat bieden om ervaringen te delen, gegevens uit te wisselen en elkaar te inspireren bij het fokken van Suffolkschapen. Het is voor iedereen erg eenvoudig om op deze website je eigen pagina te maken, vragen te stellen of die van anderen te beantwoorden, een weblog bij te houden en foto’s en video’s te plaatsen. Uiteraard is het ook een mooie mogelijkheid om elkaar op de hoogte te houden van komende evenementen.
Ik roep dus iedere Suffolkfokker op om een bijdrage te leveren! Volgens mij kan het best ‘fun’ worden! Ik ben benieuwd of het wat wordt.
Dus meld je aan en draag bij!
For Stuart Davies in Lower Chapel, Brecon, sheep farming isn’t so much a business as his passion. Having spent many years as a contract shearer running a small flock in his spare time, Stuart has worked hard to get a foot on the farming ladder and is determined to make a success of his now flourishing enterprise.
The opportunity to take on the tenancy at Vale Farm was one too good to miss, remarks Stuart, but with it came a number of challenges, not least the trial of farming without a single farm payment or other subsidy payment.”It has certainly focused my mind on making the business work financially as well as keep a tight check on costs.”
Stuart aims to be able to sell stock every month of the year to keep cash rolling through the business, so has arranged lambing into batches which both make it easier to lamb ewes with limited labour and ensure finished lambs are available for sale from April through to January. “We have 100 suckler cows and begin selling suckled calves from January onwards.”And, while some farmers may prefer to take lambs to heavier weights Stuart prefers to market early season lambs slighty lighter to gain the best return. “Selling 34-35kg lambs might not suit everyone, but when selling them earlier in the season they made up to £70 a head and they wouldn’t have made that later, despite being heavier. And I don’t have the costs of taking them to the heavier weight.”
On the breeding side of things Stuart is keen to make his mark and runs a flock of pedigree Suffolks alongside his 1800 commercial ewes which are largely Welsh Mountain and crossbreds. “The Suffolks aren’t the mainstay of the business, but provide an interest for me away from the commercial flock.”
With limited cash to call on he has made the strategic decision to buy older Welsh Mountain and crossbred ewes capable of breeding for another two or three seasons rather than buying shearlings. “These ewes don’t cost so much, have lambed before so should be good mothers and crucially, the cull price we receive for them after two or three years is close to the price we pay for them originally, so depreciation is dramatically reduced.”Admittedly this could compromise the health status of the flock and buying in sheep always risks buying in disease, explains Stuart. “But all bought-in ewes are treated for scab and worms and isolated before being mixed with the main flock at lambing.”
And with health an increasing concern, he is also keen to make use of advancing technologies and breeding techniques to reduce problems. “Regular drenching isn’t something we can justify anymore, so faecal egg counting will be used to target treatments at stock needing it. A hard culling strategy is being implemented and sheep which are repeatedly lame or have lambs which need suckling aren’t being retained.Grassland management has also come to the fore of Stuart’s mind as feed prices have escalated. So the aim is to have grass ready for ewes and lambs to be turned out on to by using root crops for outwintering and housing ewes before lambing. “Feed use has halved this winter and it should be cut further next year. Grass is regularly topped to maintain quality and clover is being increased in swards to boost productivity and cut fertiliser use.”And with industry increasingly short of visionaries and leaders, Stuart is already stepping up to the challenge here, too. As chairman of Wales and Borders region of the Suffolk Sheep Society Stuart has definite views on the way the breed needs to move and is now in a position to influence the direction it takes.
Alongside this Stuart is heavily involved in Young Farmers and often gives up his time to help members understand the finer points of stock judging through training events. The farm also hosts a number of shearing training courses, something Stuart has benefitted from himself in the past and is keen for others to succeed at. As a member of a local discussion group Stuart is regularly playing host to farm visits and attends meetings with the aim of always bringing back at least one idea he could try at home.
The Taking Stock team has now hit Edinburgh and arrived in time to take a look at the Suffolk tup lambs penned for sale tomorrow before hitting the bar. Suffice to say after the drive from Builth to Carlisle last night and on here today we feel we’ve earned a beer and will be making sure we sample a full range in the interests of quality assurance!
I can report that Robbie Wilson of Strathisla took the championship with the same tup lamb he won the Highland with. To my mind the lamb is a touch short in the loin and lacks some flesh on top, but it’s only my opinion and the general concensus is that he’s the best lamb in the shed. I’m not going to try and predict a price, but the mood up at the showground was bouyant and I sense all is set well for a fair sale tomorrow.
Standing reserve was a lamb from Willie Tait’s Burnview flock from Northern Ireland and I’m probably less keen on this sheep than I am the champion, but again I’m sure the big money spenders will be in action fighting for him tomorrow.
I’m minded to say that Conveth have a strong entry of lambs and being the first pen in the sale they may not be too dear either. A lot of their entry are by Strathisla Schumacher, so they have good lines behind them and were I in the market I may just be tempted, now where did I leave that cheque book?!
We’ll be live at the ringside tomorrow