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Stackyard News Sep 07

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Northwest Stabiliser Project Reschedules Kitcrag Open Day

The Northwest Stabiliser™ Project has rescheduled its open day at Kitcrag, Selside, Kendal for Saturday 22 September 1pm, following Defra’s announcement to relax movement restrictions outside the Surveillance Zone.

Cows with embryo Stabiliser calves

cows with embryo Stabiliser calves

Visitors will have the opportunity to discuss with the Dixon brothers, James, Andrew and Richard how the Stabiliser is playing a key role within their suckler herd to improve overall performance and reduce production costs.

Kitcrag Farm, an 180 hectare unit, lies at 600 feet above sea level in the hamlet of Selside, near Kendal. Land is all in the less favoured area with 80 pc of it severely disadvantaged, rising to 1,300 ft above sea level.

An adjoining 175 hectare farm, Yoad Pot, is also part of the family business run by brothers James, Andrew and Richard Dixon. James’ son Stephen also works on the farm.

The farm carries 300 Swale dale and 250 Mule ewes, with a small flock of Leicester sheep.  A new 12,000 bird free range poultry unit has been established at the farm after ceasing milk production in 2003.

Following visits to Givendale, Yorkshire, and the Lilburn Estate near Wooler by Dixon family members, it was felt that the Stabiliser breed offered them the way ahead by enabling them to run a low cost, easy care suckler enterprise, breeding their own replacements into a closed herd.  The aim is to build up cow numbers to 120-plus Stabilisers, which the family is well on its way to doing.

Grading up process

Grading up since 2004, when their first Stabiliser bull was bought from the Geldard family in April of that year. Bought in 40 Limousin cross heifers in 2004 to put to this bull also bought in around 65 young calves, mainly Limousin cross with some Saler cross.

Continued with grading up process with bought in heifers, also put in 10 Stabiliser embryos in the remaining original dairy cows.

Four pure bred Stabiliser bull calves and one pure bred heifer born from embryo transfer, and more embryo transfer work done in order to create a foundation herd of pure bred Stabiliser.

Eight embryo calves born, seven heifers and one bull. Present stocking numbers have reached over 100 sucklers, of which 50 will be heifers calved this summer. 15 Stabiliser embryos have been put in this year.

link Great Support for the Northwest Stabiliser Project
link The Stabiliser: the modern functional suckler cow
link Winter Oilseed Rape Margins Stack Up

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jennifer mackenzie
Article by
Jennifer MacKenzie