News from the farm July 2013

With the challenging winter and short spring now hopefully well behind us, we’re busy analysing and sorting performance figures of our ram lamb and shearling stock for sale.

Because our flock at Weir Park have always been performance recorded, the historical evidence gathered year on year,  is self evident and increasingly figures relating to EBV’s, growth rate and muscling are what our customers are looking for to support their final selection. We’ve never doubted increased selection through recording helps accelerate breeding performance, which ultimately lowers overheads, brings greater returns and consequently maximises yield.

We began recording over 20 years ago, but recently Signet have awarded our Suffolk and Texel rams Gold and Silver awards of Merit singling them out as the top 10% or 25% best performing recorded rams in the UK. This year also sees the introduction of a Maternal Index for the Suffolks for the first time. This will be an aid to people selecting Suffolks for crossing to keep the ewe lambs. Half of our rams on offer are in the top 10% for the breed for the Maternal Index.

The sheep industry is increasingly adopting the philosophy of Fit of Purpose, to support and improve profitability for the UK commercial sheep sector, by recognising the importance of the abilty to perform on grass based diet. Farming as we do on LFA pastures, on the edge of Dartmoor National Park, it’s essential our stock perform across all levels. Since we record ease of birth, lamb vigour, carcase growth rates, milk production and mothering ability and natural resistance to worms, our performance figures provide maximum opportunity to select best performing rams.  Our breeding philosophy promoting Genetics not Cosmetics, has always been the foundation block for solid genetic traits for long term returns.

This year we are launching a new breed. Working with a cooperative group of 7 other sheep farmers based in the south West we are delighted to offer our first group selection of Exlana rams and ewe lambs for sale.  A composite using genetics of native breeds as well as imported bloodstock, the Exlana is performance recorded wool shedding, or hair sheep, which we have been developing over the last eight years, using the most advanced breeding tools currently available.

We were delighted with the feedback and interest at the Sheep South West event on June 11th where we launched our new Exlana breed. Having had several enquiries since, and just last week a visit from an Exmoor farming group we anticipate a busy year.

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