“We are in this business for the long term and I believe that the future of the sheep industry lies in producing genetically superior, high health status stock, capable of thriving on grass based rations. We only sell breeding stock direct from our farm.” Peter Baber
We are a sheep farm producing high quality breeding stock with a commercial focus. The farm is situated on the edge of the beautiful Dartmoor National Park, an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, in Devon. Most of the farm is in an LFA ( less favoured area)
We currently keep 1,000 ewes and 300 ewe lambs, all fully performance recorded (180 Suffolks, 110 Texels, 160 SufTex and 980 Exlana ewes) and fed solely off grass. All our replacement ewe lambs are from our own closed flock, strategically introducing 2-3 new rams per year from outside, to prevent inbreeding.
Our particular interest is in producing the highest quality ‘Fit for Purpose’ breeding stock, from three terminal sire breeds and one maternal breed producing both rams and ewes for sale.
- Our rams are fitter, more fertile, more active and live longer without requiring special care or supplementary feeding.
- All ewes must be capable of lambing unassisted, and rearing twin lambs, solely on grass.
- The lambs produced have improved natural resistance to worms and grow faster with excellent carcasses.
Our flock is managed under commercial conditions and our stock are not fed for show ring , our philosophy of breeding and selling ‘Genetics, not Cosmetics’ means we produce the most successful long term sustainable improvements in profitability.
It is the genetics of breeding stock and their general health, fertility and potency which define ‘Fitness for Purpose’. Rearing all lambs entirely on grass, means that all their own performance records are measured against their ability to grow whilst sucking a ewe, fed solely on grass, and then after weaning their own ability to grow on grass without any supplementation with creep etc. Over feeding can ultimately adversely affect all of these factors. The animals we breed must be well above average for growth rate and carcass traits, and maternal traits. but equally importantly, they must be able to survive, thrive and perform on grass with only minimal strategic cereal supplementation.
I believe that the levels of cereal supplementation required to produce rams which will compete in the show ring or the major ram sales are not only detrimental to the ram’s future health and fertility but also strongly to select for the wrong attributes.