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De lammeren van dit seizoen gaan goed. We hebben 40 levende lammeren, 18 rammen en 22 ooien. Zoals ik al eerder schreef heb ik het dit jaar wat eenvoudiger aangepakt en het lijkt goed uit te pakken.
Ik voer de ooien alleen maar een (hoogwaardige/energierijke) brok en hooi en de lammeren krijgen een goede eiwitrijke (maar langzaam verterende) lammerenbrok en vreten uiteraard ook hooi. Eerlijk gezegd doen ze het er beter op dan op de maismix, ‘ all mash muesli’ en ander ‘fancy’ spul dat ik voorgaande jaren ook voerde. Minder werk en tenminste net zoveel groei!
Ik ben vooral erg te spreken over de lammeren van Bentley Foreign Affair en Ortum Key to succes. Mooie sterke lammeren met veel uitstraling. De combinatie van de E-ooien met Drinkstone Knock Out geeft waanzinnig grote sterke lammeren, maar lijken iets minder gespierd dan de lammeren uit de andere combinaties. De lammeren van de O-ooien en Essie Kingsway geeft een wat wisselend beeld.
Vandaag heb ik het 56 dagen/ 8 weken gewicht bepaald. Alle lammeren zijn gewogen en de gewichten zijn teruggerekend naar alsof ze 56 dagen oud zijn. Dit gewicht bepaald de groeisnelheidsindex maar ook de index voor de moedereigenschappen (melkgift). Immers een belangrijk deel van de groei hebben de lammeren gerealiseerd op de melk van hun moeder. De resultaten zijn te zien in de bijgaande lijst. Overigens wordt daar ook weer eens duidelijk uit dat de lammeren van ooitjes die voor het eerst lammeren, wat minder sterk groeien. De ooien komen gewoon nog wat te kort, maar dat trekt volgend jaar wel bij!
Op de veiling van de True Hill fokkerij heb ik twee mooie Bawnogue ooien gekocht. Het zijn ooien die Hildert van Eck in 2006 als lam geïmporteerd heeft uit Ierland. Forse brede en vooral lange ooien die een goede aanvulling vormen op mijn E familie (Essie type ooien). Deze familie gebruik ik om goed “type” in de dieren te houden Uiteraard heb ik bij aankoop gekeken naar de Suffolk Index (BASCO) en naar de duurzaamheid van de ooien (er liepen nogal wat ooienmet een kapot uier…). Ik ben erg gelukkig met mijn aankoop. De ooien zijn drachtig van TrueHill Harrisson. Een ram uit Engelse ouders met een redelijke index. De lammeren kunnen dus ook zo ingeschreven worden in het Flockbook van de Suffolk Sheep Society.
The event’s headline debate, UK Genetics are Fit for Purpose, resulted in delegates voting against the motion, with many suggesting UK genetics were a good base to work from, but imported genetics, even from foreign strains of UK breeds, may be needed as UK genetics couldn’t be adapted fast enough to suit the rapidly changing industry.
Speaking against the motion, Suffolk breeder Robyn Hulme told delegates he’d sourced genetics from New Zealand for that very reason. “Most UK sheep farms, on the evidence of levy board costings aren’t currently profitable. The only way to make a profit is to cut out unnecessary costs such as labour and feed. This is what New Zealand producers did more than 20 years ago, and importing means we can short cut to the end result. “But standing up for UK genetics, Lleyn breeder Neil McGowan said if breeders focused on the economically important traits they could adapt UK sheep to suit the modern industry. “The right sheep are here we just have to find them. UK sheep are already adapted to our environment and have the carcass traits our market demands, we just need to adapt them slightly to maximise the profit opportunities they offer.”
Meanwhile, Dewi Jones, chief executive of breeding company Innovis, said unless commercial farmers got a grip of their costs of production it wouldn’t matter what genetics they were given. “Farmers need to start managing their farms not their sheep. Get the grassland management right and then put stock on it, rather than adapting farm management to suit the sheep.”
De ooien uit de O familie worden dit jaar gedekt door Essie Kingsway. O ooien hebben extreem hoge indexen maar moeten op hun uitstraling soms de andere families voor laten gaan. Kingsway compenseert dat…. als het goed is.
Dit is Essie Kingsway. Deze ram is dit jaar geïmporteerd uit Schotland. Het is een enorm forse ram met een mooi hoofd
en een prima Signet index van 3.49
A top call of 62,000gns was the highlight of last Friday’s sale of Suffolk tups at Edinburgh and with just four sales at 10,000gns and above it certainly wasn’t the highly charged sale seen in previous year’s at the venue.
Leading the sale was Jimmy Douglas’ Cairness flock, Aberdeenshire, with an ET bred son of Cairness Just the Best out of a Whitestone ewe which is dam to Mr Douglas’ stock sire Whitestone Warrior. This one is an ET brother to Mr Douglas’ 20,000gns sale topper at the breed’s Shrewsbury sale just week earlier, he sold to Iain and Judith Barbour for their Solwaybank and Ewebank flocks, respectively.
And Mr Douglas also took the next best call of the day a 20,000gns sale for a Cairness Golddust son. This one is out of a dam by Langside Lightening which is full sister to the stock tup Cairness Just The Best. He was bought by Harry Stewart, Northern Ireland, for his Castlewellan flock which is to be dispersed later this year. Then at 12,000gns was the best from Angus Wilson, Melrose. This was a Glenhead Black Diamond son out of a dam by Glenhead Glaramara which is full sister to 5000gns Glenhead Impreza. This one sold to Robbie Wilson for his Strathisla flock.
At 10,000gns was the champion from the pre-sale show a Strathbeg Stan The Man son out of a dam by Strathisla Kingsway which has bred sons to 15,000gns. This one was from Robbie Wilson’s Strathisla flock, Turriff, Aberdeenshire and sold to the Mair family and Neil Benzie, both Aberdeenshire.
At 8000gns was the best from Eire-based breeders Tom and Jeff Bailey, a son on Cairness New Approach. This one is out a dam by Rhaeadr Rossi and goes back to Boreland Buddah on his dam’s side and sold to Myfyr Evans for his Rhaedr flock, Wales.
Also at this money was Judith Barbour’s top priced lamb, a son of her brother Iain’s sale topper from last year, Solwaybank Special One. This one is out of a full sister to Miss Barbour’s succesful show ewe from 2006, a Glenisla Grimaldi daughter which goes back to Muiresk Marci Marvellous and was taken home by Gerry Killilea, County Galway, Eire.
Following closely behind at 7500gns was another from the Bailey’s pen. This Cairness Kanine son is out of a dam by Cairness Thunder which goes back to the well known sire Stockton Almighty and also goes back to a Findowrie ewe, he was also bought by Mr Evans, Rhaeadr.
A brace then sold at 7000gns, with the both coming from Robbie Wilson’s Strathisla entry. First up was a Lakeview Leeroy son out of a dam by Strathisla Shirrocco which is full ET sister to the top breeding sire Strathisla Schumacherwhich and goes back to a ewe bred in the late Gordon Wilson’s Glenisla flock. He was snapped up by John Christie for his West Carse flock, Stirling.
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.