Prime lamb production based on pure Lleyn dams fits in well with running a high yielding pedigree Holstein herd on a farm in West Cumbria .Sheep are the best grassland tool you can have on a dairy farm. That is the simple philosophy of Cumbrian dairy farmer, Wilson Boow, and was the key factor leading to the establishment of a successful Lleyn based commercial sheep enterprise.
Much has happened in the life of Derek Steen over the last decade.From the outset, Derek has been firmly focussed on the type of sheep he wants to breed - "I'm aiming to breed sheep with maternal qualities, sheep which will produce and rear plenty of good shaped lambs with minimal shepherding. When buying a breeding tup, I look for strong maternal characteristics in his bloodline history. Visually I consider skin, conformation and correctness.
Robert Lee, who farms 1100acres with his wife Sally at Lumbylaw, Northumberland, has come to. Having experimented with various breeds and crosses, not to mention lambing dates over the past 15 years, it's this system that the couple believes will enable them to survive a future with ever diminishing levels of financial support."May-lambing Lleyns are more profitable because they don't have the input costs,"
We talk to Steven Medcalf
Farming on an exposed, treeless peninsula, the Metcalfs knew that if they were going to change breeds, a basic requirement was hardiness. Sheep that don't survive, don't' thrive!
The Lleyn is the modern sheep that lends itself to the single farm payment because she is such an easy care breed," said Willie Davidson, who farms with his wife Jennifer and their son Alisdair.The demand for Lleyn sheep has soared over the past two or three years, and,with the new CAP reforms favouring low input systems, an increasing number of flockmasters will undoubtedly be looking to this Welsh female breed toboost farm incomes.
The Lleyn is revolutionising sheep production on a Cumbria hill farm. But father and son team of John and Mark Handley believe they still have their ace card to play as they capitalise on even more Lleyn genetics as part of a crossing programme underway in their flocks of Rough Fell and Herdwick ewes.It's 10 years since the first Lleyn tups were used on the Handley's 600-acres at Catholes, near Sedbergh.
Substantial savings on feed costs, a closed flock producing its own replacements and a top quality prime lamb crop earning premium prices - the Lleyn is delivering this and more besides for Cumbria farmer Frank Dinsdale.
And it hasn't taken long for his new Lleyn flock to prove its worth. "Easy to shepherd, very docile, plenty of milk, good mothers and they eat a fraction of what we used to feed our Mule ewes. In fact I would say the Lleyn ewe is a tougher sheep than the Mule; she's hardy and holds her body condition right up to lambing without having to be propped up with feed," says Frank Dinsdale who farms with his wife Pauline
The Lleyn was introduced to Cragg Farm in the early 90s. Until then, Peter and David Knowles had horned Kendal Rough Fell sheep. "The lambs from them were OK," said David, " but they were not producing a quality lamb”
"We had seen some Lleyns and we liked the look of them. So we bought some ewes and tupped them with a Charollais for a couple of years. We then decided to start breeding our own replacements as we wanted to keep a closed flock and improve our flock's health status. The flock is now wholly pedigree," added David.