Commercial Farmers

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Juiste ram keuze ram verbeterd rendement/Lambing strategy to improve summer cash flows

At Fearn Farm in north-east Scotland, the first mob of ewes has finished lambing and been turned out into bright spring weather – at least until recently.

But after a lull of 10 days or so, with time for a quick clear out and wash down of the sheds, the second bunch of arrivals has begun.

By harvest last year, more than 700 finished lambs had left Fearn for Woodhead Bros at Turriff, achieving carcass grades of U and R, and fat classes of 3L and 4H. Lambs were sold in batches every Tuesday, with payment following by bank transfer three days later.

On average, last year’s crop of finished lambs achieved £72.80 a head after deductions, contributing about £50,000 to farm income by early summer.

It is this aspect of regular income, before cereals and straw sales are realised, that is influencing John Scott’s thinking on extending his sheep enterprise to include a later-lambing, self-sufficient flock. Read More …

Fok wat de klant vraagt!

In Engeland is de stok weer een goed in het spreekwoordelijke hoenderhok gegooid. De strijd tussen de showfokkers en de meer commercieel georiënteerde fokkerij is daar al lange tijd aan de gang. Ian McDougal, een Australische veearts en Charollais fokker, heeft op een grote 33bijeenkomst van schapenhouders fel uitgehaald naar de stamboeken. Niet de vet gemeste showdieren zouden de prijzen moeten winnen maar rammen die ieder jaar 100 tot 150 ooien dekken en dat 4 jaar zonder probleem doen. Lees meer over dit onderwerp in dit artikel.

“PEDIGREE ram breeders need to raise the expectations of the commercial farmers they are selling to and start marketing fit males capable of serving 100-150 ewes in three weeks every year for at least four years, said Ian McDougall.

Speaking to a room full of pedigree breeders, the Australian vet and Charollais breeder was not afraid to ruffle a few feathers, saying breed societies should re-educate judges so big, fat rams stopped winning shows.

This would discourage breeders from over-feeding rams, he said, arguing this was incredibly damaging to the health, fecundity and longevity of sires – see panel below.

Naturally grown, rather than over-fed rams, could be marketed as fit enough to serve many more ewes, and could be sold for more money.

One breeder in the audience said the fault lay with the commercial farmers for always paying top price for the biggest ram in the auction. But Mr McDougall told him to stop selling rams through the ring and do it from home instead.

“If it means big ram sales disappear, then so be it. Why spend all that money on performance recording and waste it by selling through the ring and not being able to tell the customer your story,” he said. Read More …