The hybrid vigour of Suffolk rams with our mule ewes gives a good thriving get up and go lamb.
Julie Anderson-Roskell farms at Raggiewhaite Farm Lockerbie with the help of her husband (Philip Roskell) Daughter (Dawn Anderson) Son (Scott Anderson) Daughter’s partner (George McCall) Farmhand (Darren Deamer) and loyal sheep dogs Ginty and Gyp.
The flock consists of 400 Mule ewes which are born and raised on the unit’s hill farm at Laverhay, Wamphray, the mule ewes are sired by homebred Cuerden Blue Faced Leicester tups. The unit where the Mule flock is based and crossed with Suffolk Rams is 200 acres and 500 feet above sea level based on clay soil and leased from Castle Milk Estates.
Julie said “essentially, we are a closed flock except for buying in the Suffolk tups which we purchase from Longtown Mart Ram Fair, we look for lengthy, mobile, tight skinned tups with good gigots. We particularly like using the Suffolk as they produce a very consistent batch of lambs that are easily marketed and we have a strong following for people looking for Suffolk x ewe lambs.”
Lambs are born outside and Julie commented “The hybrid vigour of Suffolk rams with our mules produces a good thriving get up and go lamb that performs well on our grass-based system”
The ewes are fed a special concentrate blend according to lambs being carried which is approx. 0.5lb per lamb scanned which is normally around 190%. Ewes are regularly condition scored during the winter. Throughout this period, they are also fed ad lib haylage and also have access to high energy Crystallex blocks. In the summer months the sheep receive no concentrates and are on grass only.
The aim of the sheep flock is to produce a strong Suffolk x store lamb out of a Mule ewe from a low input system to sell in large batches at Longtown Mart to repeat buyers.
When marketing lambs they are selected for a good carcass and an even pen, the large batches are mixed ewe and wether lambs which are sold through the ring and then bought with the vast majority of the ewe lambs being destined for future breeding.
These lambs are then sent all over the UK. In 2021 the top pen of lambs sold for £94.51 for 106 head and second pen the same day of
164 lambs at 91.50 per head, the draft ewes are also sold at Longtown as 4 crop breeding ewes.
Julie said “many buyers and auctioneers always comment on how well the lambs are presented in the market and are always drawn in even batches, the lambs we sell always make top prices and are often featured in the market report.”
Julie is proud that the farm is all family run and said “we rely on a close working bond to do all the work, when the lambs return a good price, it is very satisfying to see how well we have turned them out and all the hard work has paid off.”
Contact: Julie Anderson-Roskell