The Duncanson family of Marchbank Farm, Beattock are no stranger to the farming industry. Niall Duncanson tells us more about the running of Marchbank Farm and ways they strive to make the business profitable and successful.

“We run 1100 breeding ewes, currently NCC ewes, crossed with terminal sires. We lamb from April 1st for 2 cycles with around 87% in the 1st 17 days. In 2021, lambs were creep fed on their mothers using Davidsons Pearl Lamb pellets, as the spring was so harsh with cold weather and poor growing conditions well into May.

Typically, we get our first draw of lambs in the middle of June but again, due to the poor spring we were into July before the first draw. Speaning takes place in late July with lambs being divided into 3 weight bands. 38kg and over, 35- 37.5 kg and 34.5kg and under, they are then treated with a multivitamin drench, a clear wormer and crovect. The group that are 38kg and above are then offered ad lib access to Davidsons Ultimate Lamb Nuts in hoppers whilst at grass.

Lambs enjoying the lush grass on a Summers day at Marchbank

The vast majority of our lambs are sold to Vivers and are killed at Dornock with most grading predominantly at U3L and R3L. Anything that is too heavy for Vivers, gets sold through the live ring at Longtown. The modern trend may lean towards finishing lambs off grass alone, but I do feel the Ultimate Lamb Nut gives us a big advantage in that we are finishing lambs quicker with a better fat cover, than if we were solely reliant on grass. Seeing as we only introduce lambs to the nuts after they reach 38kg, we’re feeding to finish rather than feeding to grow. In our opinion, it is far more cost effective to feed them early and push them hard rather than waiting till winter sets in with them having to contend with poorer weather whilst trying to put condition on. However, one of the biggest drivers behind creeping lambs from speaning is to get lambs away quick, in order to free up grass for ewes as we look to the new breeding season beginning on the 5th of November.

This is our 3rd year using Davidsons ultimate lamb and having tried other feeds, nothing we have tried gets results as quick as ultimate lamb does so we will be sticking with it for the foreseeable future.” concluded Niall.