A Northumberland sheep farmer says he has greatly improved the quality of his flock after years of meticulous research and breeding boosted growth rates.
Hans Pörksen, who originally started breeding Suffolk sheep in the 1980s, has focused on breeding sheep with high growth rates.
This has led to quicker finishing and more muscle in his sheep, with no excess fat.
His original flock of sheep were bought from the Scottish College of Agriculture in the 1980s, but after acquiring other top rated sheep his flock has continued to improve.
The farmer also signed up to the Sire and Reference scheme, which helped him raise ram lambs that were eventually sold at Kelso. The best of the flock reached a price of £2,000, while his 31 ram lambs reached an average of £608.
After moving to Gallowshill Farm at Cambo, Northumberland , Mr Pörksen purchased a flock of Texel sheep, which were in the top 1% of rated ewes.
The move also led to a change in policy leading to lambing taking place in March instead of January. The rams are also reared with less concentrate inputs and sold as shearlings.
After adding high quality sheep to his flock, the farmer increased his focus on research and now sends 50 lambs per year to the Scottish College’s CT unit analysis.
“All this research work has led to faster growth rates, which leads to lambs reaching their slaughter weight at least two weeks earlier, with more meat in the carcass and less fat,” said Mr Pörksen, former chairman of the NFU’s Northumberland branch.
“The current Suffolk stock ram, Hans Fokker 095, is a home bred son of Sandyknowe Ettrick 07-1, who was purchased in 2008 at the Kelso ram sale for the then record Suffolk shearling price of £3000 from Malcolm Stewart’s flock.
“Fokker has turned out to be an exceptional ram with one of the highest muscle EBV’s in the sheep world. He now has produced over 440 pure bred progeny with sons at Kelso averaging £975 from the Essie flock, and grandsons topping the table in the Huish and Midhope flocks.”
The progeny of these high indexed rams are now highly prized by the meat processing industry, which is offering a 10p per kilogram bonus payment for them.
Source : Chroniclelive