GENETICS not cosmetics is the bottom line that Peter applies to his sheep, and he applies it ruthlessly.
The rams and the 750 ewes on his rented holding of 120 hectares – nearly 300 acres – on the edge of Dartmoor are those that have survived a determined policy to root out the sick and the slackers.
“I started out with three strikes and you’re out, then reduced it to two and I’m now down to one,”
I can’t be there at 3am getting the lamb to milk under an infrared lamp. I want them to do it themselves, a former National Sheep Association Chairman, and 2007 Farmer’s Weekly Sheep Farmer of the Year, Peter maintains, performance recording all ewes with the aim of improving estimated breeding values year on year.
Along side the SufTex rams we are developing a new composite breed from some SIG hybrids, working from the maternal line which is currently in the early stages of developement. We think that this will be the ultimate ‘easily managed’ ewe. wool shedding, easy lambing, milky, ewes with good mothering ability, resistance to worms and footrot, and capable of producing fast growing lambs with good carcasses. It is currently being developed by a group of south west farners and stock from the foundation flock of the Exlana, (without wool) will be available to buy next year.