Adam Henson and the Countryfile team visited Bearwood yesterday to film the Lleyn flock. Adam purchased two rams to join his sheep flock at the Cotswold Farm Park. He was interested in performance recorded Lleyn rams that had good resistance to worms.
Countryfile were interested in the data recording I have been doing for the past 18 years and the new research project I am involved with looking at genetic resistance into sheep worms.
The film footage will be shown during the Countryfile episode on 28th August 2016.
I am Secretary of the Performance Recorded Lleyn Breeders, a group of 22 flockmasters across the United Kingdom; from the Highlands of Scotland to Devon and Norfolk to West Wales. The size of members flocks range from 50 to 2000 ewes. We are working with the scientific and livestock industry to use performance and genetics to increase prifitability in sheep production.
One exciting project we got funding for is looking at worm restistance in sheep. More information on this project can be found by “clicking on the link” below:
I will have around 250 Lleyn ewe lambs available this year and a small number of Blue Texel ewe lambs. The lambs will be weaned by the middle of July and will be ready to leave the farm at the beginning of August. Many of the Lleyn ewe lambs purchased are put to the tup in the autumn. All lambs have performance figures and can be registered if required.
More and more customers come and buy ewe lambs off the farm; they can look at the breeding ewes and stock rams and see the farming system at Bearwood. They can also see the sale animals in their “working clothes” and not overfed like so many animals that go through the sale ring. The ewe lambs are reared off grass and are not fed creep; they are left to grow naturally as I am keen to produce stock that utilize grass efficiently. If my order book is filled before sale entry deadline then I will not be selling anything through the sale ring.
I will have 20 registered and 12 unregistered yearling Lleyn rams and 5 registered Blue Texel yearling rams available this year. All these rams have performance figures for maternal and carcase traits and the majority of them have figures in the Top 10% of the latest Breed Evaluation.
More and more customers come and buy rams off the farm; they can look at the breeding ewes and stock rams and see the farming system at Bearwood. They can also see the sale animals in their “working clothes” and not overfed like so many animals that go through the sale ring. These animals need to be fit to work immediately in the autumn. The yearling rams have access to Lifeline Ramcare and are out at grass. My aim is to produce rams that can utilize grass efficiently. If my order book is filled before sale entry deadline then I will not be selling anything through the sale ring.
During the summer I visited a couple of Lleyn breeders to look at their rams for sale. I was keen to view the rams in their working clothes and before they were being fed for the sales. I was fortunate to be able to buy two rams privately off the farm. It is difficult to find rams that you like that also have good performance figures behind them.
The first ram I purchased was a yearling ram from Dylan Jones of Lluest Wen, Comins Coch, Machynlleth, Powys. This ram is a Bronallt Big Daddy (50:061106) son and is a full brother to 599:100725 who I purchased off Dylan 2 years ago but sadly he died last winter. 599:100725 is the 5th top rated Lleyn stock ram in the latest National Lleyn Breed Evaluation and this yearling 599:1202851 has figures in in the Top 1% for Maternal and Top 5% for Carcase.
The second ram I purchased was a two year old from Marcus Bullock, Bank Farm, Abberley, Worcester, who used him last year on selected ewes. This ram, 619:1100993 is by a Jim Goldie ram (1312:061072) and it’s bloodline on the sire side goes back to the famous 172:T184. This ram has performance figures in the Top 1% for Maternal and Carcase and is also a Myomax Gold gene carrier.
I also needed a Blue Texel ram to put onto my home bred yearling Blue Texel ewes. I managed to purchase a ram lamb (BBD/13/00925) at the Beili Blues production sale at Carlisle. This ram has new pure Dutch breeding on both Sire and Dam sides and was the 1st prize winner of the Blue Texel ram lamb class at this years Royal Welsh Show.
What a difference a couple of months make. Back in May we had no grass and all the animals were in need of warm temperatures and sun. How they have all altered since the heatwave during July. The grass has grown and all animals are blooming.
Hay and good quality haylage has been made and stored to be fed this coming winter and lambs weaned from the ewes. Lambs ready to go for meat were sold through Hereford market and replacement ewe and ram lambs have been sorted.
July has been a busy month showing prospective purchasers round the Bearwood flock. More buyers are coming to the farm to buy their replacements; they like to see the sheep in their “working clothes” and look at the farming system to make sure it will compliment their system.
The upshot of this is that 16 yearling rams have already been sold and 100 ewe lambs reserved to go to a couple of breeders. Semen from Bearwood Trooper has also been purchased by a breeder that had used Trooper’s semen last year.
I also have visited a couple of flocks to view
rams as I require 2 Lleyn stock rams this year. Registered Lleyn rams with good performance figures and the right bloodlines are difficult to find but I hope to have both rams purchased within the next couple of weeks. I prefer to buy off the farm for the reasons mentioned above.
I hope to also purchase a few more Blue Texel ewes and a Blue Texel ram so my shopping spree has not finished yet! More details of my purchases will follow when the sales have been concluded.
The sale season is fast approaching. I hope to go to Ross on Wye with ewe lambs in September and Welshpool in October. I am attending fewer sales this year due to the number of sheep I have sold off the farm.
I have purchase a new weigh crate designed by Martin Tompkins of Border Software and a True Test reader which reads the animals EID and records it’s weight. I am weighing more often now to get a better idea of live weight gain of lambs and mature weight of ewes. It is also useful to see which ewe is producing her own body weight in lamb meat when we weigh ewes and lambs at weaning.
The sale season is well under way. Yearling rams and ewe lambs have been sold at Lleyn Sheep Society Sales at Exeter, Ruthin and Ross on Wye so far with the yearling rams averaging £945.00.
Ewe lambs have been sold off the farm to start pedigree Lleyn Flocks in Sussex, Herefordshire and Gloucestershire and rams have gone to Derbyshire, Staffordshire, Sussex, Devon, Shropshire, Worcestershire and Cambridgeshire to name a few. Many customers are repeat customers with one person coming back for the 10th year.
I am selling ewe lambs and yearling rams on the 29th September at the Lleyn Sheep Society Sale at Welshpool. This will be my last sale of the season.
I am keeping all my Blue Texel ewe lambs to build up the flock and 2 ram lambs. One yearling ram, Millend Thunder Bold has been sold to Staffordshire and a couple of ram lambs are heading to commercial flocks in Herefordshire.
Signet Breeding Services have published their final breeding evaluation analysis for the Lleyn breed for 2011. A Bearwood Lleyn ram sold as a yearling at the Lleyn Sheep Society Sale at Ross on Wye in September 2010 to Ifor and Ann Jones, Abergele, North Wales is 3rd highest rated Lleyn ram in the stock sires list. Congratulations to Ifor and Ann.