Friday, 1 April 2016

Spring 2016

14DG04650 - Foulrice Osprey, shorn late March - no need of wool to add shape to this boy.He has great width of loin with fleshing through from rump to shoulder. He stands well with plenty of width behind & not too heavy in front.We have some good December born lambs on the ground by him & his dam has yet again produced a full brother of similar characteristics.
December lambing was mad as usual with everything pretty well lambing in ten days, which is great for getting ewes & lambs into batches & preventing disease build up. A larger number of triplets & quads than usual meant that we had a bigger squad of pet lambs, but the machine under Valerie`s supervision worked admirably & having weaned them at 4 to 5 weeks of age the majority are on a par with those reared on the ewes. Silage has been better this winter so the ewes have milked better & not lost too much body condition, which is a help as our ewe culling is usually carried out at this time of year when the lambs are weaned & the trade is usually quite buoyant.
Winter has been somewhat wet & relatively mild keeping the grass unusually green, that is until March when it has come colder, the grass has gone backwards & just when we thought it was drying up nicely - guess what - it rained again ! Still I must admit there are many in other parts who have had far more water than us.
Last July at A.I. time with a few years having gone by we went back into the pot & inseminated a good batch of ewes with semen from Westonvale Jubilee XBB9016, so we are watching the progeny with interest to see how they measure up against our current team of stock rams.
Eight week weighing has come & gone with reams of paper arriving from Signet - mostly this is an indicator of how well the ewes have milked - the real telling time will be at 21 weeks when we weigh all the lambs again & take an ultrasound muscle depth measurement on the loin which is a better indicator of their own genetic potential. With all this taking place we are at the same time endeavouring to take out as spring butchers lambs any that will not make the grade as either rams or ewe replacements, so as to take advantage of the Easter trade.
We are making good progress with our March lambing of 130 ewe hogs - only about 20 left - & are really pleased with the offspring of the ram lambs that I mentioned in a previous post.
More news shortly - it`s time to visit the lambing shed again ! 


Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Early Autumn 2015

1st Prize Shearling Gimmer & sale Champion at Skipton Female Sale 10th October 2015.
14DG04338 one of the show team, sired by Langstone K2 out of an H13 granddaughter, sale topper at 1000gns and sold in lamb to Lowerye Neils Favourite.

This was a good sound sale with buyers for all the stock forward at good prices to round off the season.

Our March born lambs usually provide most of the ram lambs to grow on and sell as shearlings.
With the good grass season the lambs had done quite well so after ultra sound scanning at the end of August we opted to take eleven ram lambs to the mobile CT scanner while it was sited with George Fell  at Thorganby near York scanning Meatlincs.

The results were pleasing across the board as we took lambs by five different rams including two by Cwm Dunrig Nelson purchased from Duncan Davies at Builth II 2014 (a really tight skinned ram with Inglis breeding & shape in him)
Out of these we then selected three to run with some ewe lambs in addition to one early born tup. They are as follows:
- 15DG05417  a son of Lowerye Neils Favourite   index 384
- 15DG05654  a son of Foulrice Osprey                index 378
- 15DG05734  a son of Rhaeadr Nock                  index 371
- 15DG05809  a son of Foulrice Overlord              index 431

All good correct tight skinned ram lambs with some shape and style.
So we will look forward with anticipation to a next generation of breeding.

Summer 2015 continued

In spite of show successes there was much trepidation in the marketplace as butcher`s lambs had been a much poorer price than the previous year. So with a mixture of hope and misgivings we set off to our first major commercial ram sale of the season - the NSA Borders & Wales Ram Sale at Builth Wells - along with daughter Deborah and a consignment of shearling rams from both our flocks. Much to everyone`s surprise there was strong demand for all breeds particularly Charollais with good numbers of buyers present.

In the pen classes Foulrice won 1st prize for large pen of shearling rams, and Galtres won second.

Our pen leader 14DG04519 won the open sh. ram class & also the John Davies cup for the show champion.This son of Foulrice Lightening subsequently sold for 1080gns to Innovis Breeding Ltd. 
The second ram in 14DG04651 (twin brother to our first prize Yorkshire Show winning shearling) won the performance recorded class selling for 1120gns. But our sale topper was our third ram in 14DG04842 (a March born son of Rhaeadr Nock) selling at 1300gns to D & A Fenwick Ltd of Gainsborough Lincolnshire.

There was a distinct variation in ram sales throughout the season, but all the shearling rams found new homes with demand for Charollais remaining strong to the end of the season for ram lambs.

The summer though not that hot provided an abundant supply of grass and our silage was much better quality than the previous year with dry matter of 31.5%, D value of 75.8 & ME of 12.1, better than the second cut haylage this year but even that is feeding nicely.
The grass supply meant that we had pastures at the right stage for flushing the ewes well both for July A.I. and October natural tupping.
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Summer 2015

Foulrice Charollais winning the Ripley group of three trophy at the G.Y.S. when Nock teamed up with two shearling ewes both daughters of Foulrice Lightening 14DG04500 & 14DG04549, all in all a show to be remembered
Rhaeadr Nock 13XXK00879 - 2015 Great Yorkshire Show Interbreed Champion.
Having been awarded the Charollais championship on the Tuesday, on the following day Nock progressed to win the Grafton Terminal Sire trophy and followed it up by being awarded Supreme Sheep Champion of the show. This success he repeated at both Driffield and Ryedale shows, finishing his season in style by winning the Interbreed trophy at Kilnsey Show for the second year running.

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Spring 2015

Having brought you up to date with 2014 we now move on to spring of 2015. The bulk of the silage made last summer fed as expected with feed value deficiencies having to be compensated by increased levels of concentrate feeding for the ewes to milk well. Even then it is not fully possible to compensate for forage inadequacies with increased concentrates. We saved the better quality second cut silage to feed to the ewe lambs which were lambing to avoid prolapse problems.

We have in fact fed home mixed rations for thirty years now as you have much more quality control. With the pedigree flock numbers stable for a number of years at 500 there is no room for extravagant feed as our flock is run very much on a commercial basis, for even though we sell a number of rams each year for pedigree use, the bulk of our rams produced go onto commercial farms.

The Foulrice flock has been performance recorded since its formation 34 years ago and has seen steady progress till in 2015 our average index has passed the 300 mark.
 Our aim has always been threefold :-
 1/ To have a flock of consistent type which maintains the easy lambing attributes of the Charollais.
 2/ To produce rams with good skins, good shape & hardy type - pleasing to our customers.
 3/ To see continual improvement in growth & carcase traits through recording.

Early in the year the Signet RamCompare Project was announced. It is a two year pilot project designed to trial strategies for capturing commercial data on slaughter lambs in the UK sheep industry. It will be similar to central progeny tests that are taking place in Australia, New Zealand and Ireland.
So when the invitation was given for offers of high index Charollais shearling rams for the project we put some forward and had two accepted - both in the top 1% of the breed, and both March born on a grass based system. One sired by Lowerye Neils Favourite, and the other by Dalby Mount Aloe.

One of our best lambs in our December born batch was a Lowerye Neils Favourite son - Foulrice Pathfinder 15DG05165 who having an actual muscle depth of 37.9mm came in with a muscle EBV of 6 (the highest of the year) as part of an overall index of 414. Needless to say he was quickly sold to a private purchaser for a reasonable sum.
Great Yorkshire Show 2015 - First prize shearling ram on left shown by Stephen. Foulrice Osprey 14DG04650 March born twin sired by Dalby Mount Aloe. 

Monday, 8 February 2016

Celebrations to conclude 2014


Interbreed trophy presentation Kilnsey Show August 2014 with onlooking crowds on a good sunny day

Before the conclusion of sales for the year, having attended Skipton Multibreed Ram Sale on Friday 3rd October a.m. and arriving home after lunch we left home and headed off to Exeter. Our youngest son Andrew was married to Katherine in the splendid setting of Exeter Cathedral on the following afternoon of Saturday 4th October


Saturday, 6 February 2016

More from Summer 2014


A day to be remembered - Not only did our shearling ewe Naomi take the championship as mentioned yesterday, but our junior stock ram Rhaeadr Nock XXK 00879 (bought the previous year at Worcs. Premier sale for 4400gns from Myrfa Evans ) took the male championship & reserve overall to crown an exceptional day.
Pictured with me is eldest son Stephen & both our wives in the background.

Moving forward to our last show of the season at Kilnsey up above Skipton, at the end of August, what should happen but Naomi had scald & so was left at home.
This is one of the best one day shows in the north of England with fourteen different sheep breeds exhibited including some of the best North of England Mules seen.The show draws large crowds and competition is intense and it all takes place in the shadow of Kilnsey Cragg, a beautiful setting for any show. Crag races and harness racing are also a feature of this popular show. 

So here we are six weeks after the Great Yorkshire Show & Rhaeadr Nock takes the Interbreed Sheep Championship at Kilnsey (Here pictured with the Cragg in the background) where more often than not it is won by one of the hill breeds What an honour !