Page 7 - Commercial Suffolks 2019
P. 7

ting, all twins are lambed outside on grass only and triplets and singles are housed at
        lambing with only triplet ewes being fed any concentrate. Singles are lambed inside to
        get the triplet lambs twinned on. Since 2018 a milk feeder has been in place for spare
        lambs with mixed results, this is being reviewed on an ongoing basis and they expect
        things to improve as it progresses. There were less than 30 ewes out of the lambing
        shed sucking only singles. Martin stated “we went to great lengths to get as few ewes
        as possible to field with only one lamb, of course there are always a few that become
        singles at all stages of rearing. No triplets were put to grass.”
        Ewes are kept in their tipping batches right through the year and this means that at
        lambing the tips breeding can be followed. It is a good indication for the colours the
        tip is throwing and the vigour of his lambs when born. This is to avoid reusing any tips
        throwing less active lambs, To date only one tip has given unacceptable lambs. James
        puts this down to careful selection of rams. The singles and the triplet carrying ewes
        that go to the field sucking twins will be returned to their tipping batch. These will then
        be kept together until weaning at which stage the ewe lambs are tagged with different
        coloured tags relating to the tip that sired them, another method of ensuring careful
        monitoring of progeny of specific rams.
        No creep is fed to any lambs, as they are being run through to gimmers and they are
        allowed to grow out on their own on grass. There is also no concentrate fed to the gim-
        mers pre-sale either. The only ones that get any feed are 4 or 5 that are selected each
        year to show at a few local shows.

        Ewes  are  weaned  the  first  week  in  August  with  batches  weaned  from  189%  up  to
        200%. Although initially considered a by-product of producing ewe lambs, wethers are
        increasingly becoming an integral part of the business and are as good as any fat lambs
        coming onto the market. Weighing wether lambs has been introduced this year with 125
        lambs weighed. These were 50kgs+ live weight at weaning and were sold directly off
        grass for slaughter. All remaining wether lambs were shorn and put to fresh grass, most
        of which will be slaughter ready by mid-September. James targets a liveweight of 50kgs
        because he finds that this is the optimum liveweight for delivering the flesh required by
        his customers. All ewe lambs are also shorn and put to grass with most ewe lambs put
        to winter grazing October to January.

        Over the last 2 years a small flock of pedigree Suffolks has been established with the
        aim to breed the characteristics needed to produce the sort of commercial breeding
        ewe lamb/gimmer that Jalex is aiming for. James says “the Suffolk tip has delivered all
        we expected, they perform well in servicing the ewes into the fourth year and we are
        getting good percentages with their lambs born with a high level of vigour.”

                                               Commercial SUFFOLKS – AUTUMN 2019  5
   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12