Page 8 - Commercial Suffolks 2019
P. 8

100 Years of

        Farming in Devon

                                      The Derryman family have been farming
                                      at Yarcombe in East Devon for over 100
                                      years  with  a  traditional  mixed  system
                                      including 120 British Friesians, follow-
                                      ers and homebred beef cattle for stores
                                      and finishing.

                                      The  sheep  enterprise  consist  of  over  500  ewes
                                      lambing from December to March. The Hampshire
                                      Down flock of 100 December lambing ewes was
                                      established  over  50  years  ago  by  Peter's  father
                                      Henry. The 350 Romneys lamb in March to both
        pure Romney for replacements and a larger percentage put to either a Hampshire Down
        or Suffolk. The 120 ewe Suffolk flock was established in the early 80's with the aim to
        produce breeding rams specifically to fit the requirements of the South West commer-
        cial sheep farmer be it for use on Mules to breed replacements or any form of commer-
        cial ewe for prime lamb production. The flock has been performance recorded from the
        outset with emphasis on growth, scan weight, muscle depth and maternal EBVs, we
        feel performance recording has been of great benefit to us and our customers who have
        bought into the steady genetic improvement we have achieved using this aid, however
        when selecting stock rams for use the basics include a clean smooth head, tight wool,
        good flat shoulder and width front and back and has to excel in the gigot as it seems to
        be the first thing to catch the commercial man's eye.

        Also perhaps unique to the SW a relatively small head and moderate bone and short
        ears are required as there is a perception they will be hardier and lamb easier, particu-
        lary for customers who farm on the fringes of either Dartmoor or Exmoor.  Each year a
        homebred lamb with a good index from a better performing ewe that has stood the test

        6  Commercial SUFFOLKS – AUTUMN 2019
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