The Suffolk female out of the Mule ewe is exactly what we require in a commercial female

David and Isobel McAlpine (T/A J.J. & M Dunlop) have farmed at Mayfield for fifty years, the farm is light land with an annual rainfall of 30 inches and 350ft to 800ft above sea level.

David commented “the sheep enterprise has to be successful and profitable and for this to be achieved the farm has a clean grazing system of specific clover leys in rotation with arable cropping, which enables the Suffolk x ewes to milk well and produce fast growing lambs. The Suffolk x sheep on the farm are healthy with a low level of feet problems and our Suffolk x ewes have longevity of breeding with low depreciation.”

Suffolk ewes provide the majority of the commercial flock these ewes are bred on the farm out of Mule ewes. David McAlpine has used Suffolk rams for 50 years and Suffolk x ewes since 1995. The sheep breeding flock consists of 240 Suffolk X Ewes, 91 Suffolk Gimmers, 106 Suffolk X Hoggs, 176 Mule Ewes, 69 Mule Gimmers, 75 Mule Hoggs with 5 Suffolk, 7 Texel and 4 Berrichon Tups. 

“the Suffolk female out of the Mule ewe is an excellent early maturing female providing traits of growth rate, fleshing, milking ability and the ability to feed lambs from grass with minimal use of concentrates which is exactly what we require in a commercial female – the Suffolk x Hoggs are tupped in the first year and in 2022 had a lambing percentage of 140% – the Suffolk x Mule wether lamb is also an excellent butchers lamb with consistent fat levels and conformation required by all sections of the meat trade.”

David McAlpine

David commented that “half the growth rate of the prime lambs comes from the Suffolk x ewe” – the first batch of prime lambs were sold in the middle of June 2022 with a batch of 137 lambs average weight 21.3kg and a top line of £141 – a quarter of the lambs off the farm are sold by the end of June and this does not include the ewe lambs retained for breeding. David also points out that the depreciation of Suffolk x ewes is very low due to there cull value.

The flock at Mayfield are fed silage outdoors using a bale unroller with the silage fed on the ground, a snacker is used to provide Ewe rolls to the sheep outside pre lambing which starts the third week of March to coincide with grass growth when ewes and lambs are turned out on grass leys. The flock has an overall scanning of 203% with Gimmers at 193% included in these figures.

When purchasing Suffolk Rams from Kelso every year David says he looks for clean haired, tight skinned, easy fleshing type – he says that “the Suffolk Ram provides us with high growth rates and lambs that can finish fast from our grass leys – we believe that our farming system is in excellent shape and by using Suffolk genetics it can survive all the challenges that we may face regarding increasing feed costs”

Contact: David McAlpine


Address: Mayfield, Reston, Eyemouth, TD14 5LG