Aiming to get prime lambs off farm as quickly as possible is the outcome of Willie Scott based at the upland Farm, Falla, near Jedburgh.
Running a mixed beef and sheep enterprise consisting of a 50 suckler cow herd along with 180 Mule ewes, 320 Texel cross Mules, 300 Suffolk out of the Texel Mule and 300 pure Texel ewes, there is certainly always something to think about at Falla.
The aim of the exercise is to produce a fat lamb for Morrisons preferably at the 21kg deadweight grading in at E or Us. Lambing kicks off at the end of March with the Texels, whilst the commercial flock follows just one week later. Everything is lambed inside and then put straight to grass.
Breeding sheep are fed an 18% blend and move onto the Super Ewe rolls six weeks prior to lambing and that is fed until a month post lambing. “We are fairly well stocked here, we tend not to have a lot of grass, so post lambing feeding is absolutely essential to keep the milk on the ewes and for them to make a decent job of the lamb. The Super Ewe is a more expensive product but the results we get helps justify the cost,” said Willie.
Focusing on getting lambs away as quickly as possible results in Willie putting creep feeders out once the lambs are weaned. Lambs begin on the ‘Rapid Start lamb pellet’ which we find is very good for getting young lambs to start growing explained Willie. Those lambs will then move onto the Ultimate Lamb protein ration, just when the frame is formed to give them that extra bit of energy into finishing them. “It produces the weaning cheque if the lambs know what feeding is,” said Willie, with approximately 1200 commercial lambs will be hang up by mid-October. On the pure side, the selection for breeding isn’t made until February for both ewe and tup lambs to allow everything the chance to grow and develop.
“Nothing is pushed on as lambs, we want to breed a tup that we would like to buy ourselves. We will have in the region of 200 tup lambs to pick from, so we only sell the best end of them,” added Willie, who will sell 50 unregistered Texel shearlings annually through Ring 18 at Kelso Ram Sales, along with a select few at Longtown.
These shearlings will be fed the prior November/ December on Davidsons Animal Feeds Reiver Grower Nuts, and six weeks before Kelso they will receive that final show polish on the TNT mix. “Some folk seem to think feeding is a ‘dirty’ word and take pride in not feeding their stock, but we suffer from trace element efficiencies here at Falla so we find we need to feed to get lambs to finish. We haven’t found the magic X Factor treatment that makes everything wonderful. “If we do feed, we find it is an essential management tool.”
On the cattle front, a small spring calving suckler herd of 50 all calve inside, with the aim of selling forward stores come the end of February to get the sheds cleared out for lambing kicking off. “The biggest problems these days is the heavy rain fall in the summer, which the ground can’t carry the cows and come winter trying to source straw is becoming more expensive and harder to come by,” said Willie, with all cows being wintered on silage and minerals. Store calves are brought inside in October leaving them on their mothers for a month and then weaned thereafter. Calves are on Ad Lib creeps from the end of July and onto hoppers in the shed post weaning to give them that extra boost.
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