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Godwick Suffolks are producing the type of rams farmers want

Suffolk breeder John Garner farms at Godwick Hall, near Kings Lynn in Norfolk.

John joined his father on the farm in 1954 and bought his first Suffolk ewes in 1960. He took over the management of the farm in 1962, and ten years later started breeding pedigree Suffolks, building up to 100 head. The flock has been involved with the Sire Reference Scheme since it started in 1989. John now has a flock of 40 pedigree Suffolk ewes.

Godwick Suffolks John uses the figures generated from performance recording as a marketing tool – if a customer likes the look of one of his rams he then uses Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) to show he also has the potential to deliver lambs with economically important traits. He also finds indexes useful for demonstrating how good a ram is within his breed. One ram, Drinkstone Supersire 2004 has had a major influence on the flock over the years.

Flock management
On 12 August each year John’s 40 pedigree ewes are artificially inseminated using semen from four different rams. Any that do not conceive go to a Blue-faced Leicester ram for two cycles to produce ewes for the commercial flock. These are then crossed onto a Southdown ram to produce lambs that finish at grades around R3L.

“The beauty of AI is that I can select semen from particular sires to match certain individuals within the flock,” explains John. “It is good for recording purposes and breed planning”

Selection policy
All lambs are ultrasound scanned at around 21 weeks of age to accurately assess their muscle and fat depth. John looks for animals with good conformation, taking particular notice of their top line, loin, hindquarter and legs. He also looks at the Muscle and Fat Depth EBVs for each animal. Replacement ewe lambs are chosen based on this data and selection criteria. Ewe and ram lambs that fail to make the grade are finished and sold.

Customers starting to look for figures
John’s main customers are commercial producers with flocks of 750 or more ewes, who buy directly from the farm. He says they are often impressed by how quickly lambs produced by recorded sires grow and finish.

Shane Conway – Signet

Lambing 2012

Lambing season 2012 started at Christmas 2011. Approximately 145 ewes should lamb in the next comming weeks. They are getting ready as you can see! All the ewes are at our farm Mattemburgh.

First batch of lambs:

The ewes:

CT scanning boost flock quality

Lamb in an MRI scanner

Researchers say the process is just speeding up natural selection

Putting a live sheep into a CT scanner looks ungainly, even slightly comical, but the science behind it has serious implications for Britain’s national flock.

One by one they are mildly sedated and then strapped to a gurney, complete with head cushion for comfort.

Once loaded on to the machine itself, a slow conveyor takes them through the large white, donut-shaped scanner.

This is not happening because the animal is hurt or injured, in fact the Charollais ram is in tip top condition and his owner wants more like him.

Dr Kevin Sinclair, a professor in developmental biology at The University of Nottingham, is helping farmers pick the best of the best to breed better quality meat into their flocks.

He says: “One argument for lamb becoming less popular as a meat is because people complain about it being too fatty. Read More …

Lambs oustside, Happy Easter!

Ewes outside!

Gezondheidstatus weer bevestigd

Onze kudde is (uiteraard) scrapie en zwoeger gecertificeerd. In de afgelopen week ontving ik de uitslag van het reguliere bewakingsonderzoek voor zwoeger, waarmee werd bevestigd dat we die status behouden. Alle getapte dieren waren “zwoeger onverdacht”. Van de geïmporteerde dieren dient ook nog een her-test plaats te vinden van de scrapie genotypering. Dat komt omdat (om mij onverklaarbare reden) de GD de Engelse testuitslagen niet erkent. Onbegrijpelijk want de test is wel door de EG goedgekeurd om dieren te mogen exporteren. Hoe zo, één Europa? Maar goed, het zal dus niet verbazen dat alle import diere genotype arr-arr hebben.

Tenslotte zijn alle import dieren voor de tweede maal getest op Cl en ook daarvan was de uitslag prima. alles vrij van Cl. De rest van de kudde was al eerder getest en ook daar bij werden geen CL-antistoffen aangetoond.

We zijn dus weer “op orde”.

Rammen op stal

De rammen staan binnen en zijn geschoren. Inmiddels hebben we nakomelingen van Bentley Jabulani, Sitlow Sidekick, Specop Nutcracker, Drinkstone Knock Out en Cairness Carbon (via KI). Ik ben erg te spreken over de eerste resultaten. De rammen staan in een ruime frisse stal met veel buitenlucht. Vorige week bij de ijzige wind had  ik de deuren dicht gedaan en dat leidde  meteen tot beginnende longontsteking Veel ventilatie dus!

Tijdelijke stal weer gereed

Vandaag heb ik de tijdelijke stal weer gereed gemaakt. Net als vorig jaar heb ik de partytent van 50 m2 opgezet en ingericht met tijdelijke hekjes. Het is een ruime en lekker frisse stal door de grote deuropeningen en het gebruik van windbreekgaas. De stal staat in verbinding met de  gewone stal. Nu al een groot aantal ooien heeft gelammerd kunnen zij straks lekker naar “buiten”. De stal is voorzien van een creepfeeder (voerbak met doorkruiphek)  zodat de lammeren apart hardvoer kunnen opnemen.

Eerste lammeren geboren; First lambs 2011 season born!

It has started for this season!

De eerste lammeren van het seizoen zijn geboren! Afgelopen week heeft Ortum K24  twee mooie ramlammeren van Bentley Jabulani op de wereld gezet. Ortum J41 heeft dit jaar een knots van een ooilam geproduceerd. Lammeren allemaal zelf geboren en lekker actief.

Ik was wat verrast omdat ik de lammeren pas iets voor het nieuwe jaar verwachtte. Het is dus begonnen!

Carlisle Suffolks top at 1500gns

By Jonathan Long
Taking the top bid at Friday’s sale of Suffolk females at Carlisle was Mark Evans’ Jubilee flock with a January born ewe lamb by Strathbeg Stan the Man. This single born lamb is out of a dam by Strathisla Shirocco and goes back to homebred sire Jubilee Godfather. Buying her was Norman Robinson, Northern Ireland.

Email Suff Sup Champ L313 1500g.jpg

Next best of 1020gns was also paid for one from Jubilee, this time a Strathisla St Nicholas sired ewe lamb. Also a single lamb this one is also out of a dam by Shirocco and goes back to Didcot Dominator. She was bought by James Nisbet, Mauchline, Ayrshire.Mr Nisbet bought the next best priced lot too, paying 700gns for a shearling ewe from the Proctor family’s Conveth flock. this one, in lamb to Cairness Achievement, is by Strathisla Schumacher and out of a dam by Cairness Save the Day. She goes back to Muiresk Video Star.

Then at 660gns was a shearling from the Northtyne flock of D M Robertson. Sired by Glenhead Infusion, she was sold in lamb to Northtyne Drifter and is out of a dam by Solwaybank Insignia. This one sold to T R and E A Milburn, Greenhead, Carlisle.

Following that at 650gns was one from Darren Jones. This 2007-born ewe is by Thurston Chieftain and out of a ewe by Cairness Spellbound. She sold in lamb to Cairness See the Stars and was bought by J A and M Gornall.

And then at 630gns was one from Lewis Harkness. This was a shearling ewe in lamb to Laurelbank First Flight and out of a dam by Deveronside Design. Buyer of this one was H MacFadzean, Dunscore.

Averages; 10 ewes £323.40, 36 shearling gimmers £418.54, 12 ewe lambs £493.50 (Harrison and Hetherington).