2013-08-14  facebooktwitterrss
More Margin For Strangford Down Producers

Selling stock and buying key inputs as a member of Strangford Down puts more money on the bottom line of this farm business and saves me time,” says Rathfriland lamb producer Ian Martin.

As host for the producer group’s annual farm walk and BBQ Ian gave a warm welcome to members and urged more farmers to join Strangford Down.
Farming single handed with casual help Ian runs 230 ewes, including a small pedigree Texel flock, although commercial lamb production is the real profit centre.

A stunning view of the land from which we live! Ian Martin leads some Strangford Down members off on the farm walk before the annual producer group BBQ and quiz on his Rathfriland farm with proceeds in aid of the Southern Area Hospice

A stunning view of the land from which we live! Ian Martin leads some Strangford Down members off on the farm walk

Texel rams are put to Texel X mules with the resulting ewes lambs, which are kept to become the core of the commercial flock, mated with Charollais tups for ease of lambing.

Aside from sheep and a small pig unit Ian also finishes 40 beef heifers each year. These are mainly suckled calves bought in the autumn with well grown Charolais preferred.

“These heifers are not pushed over the winter and early summer as the aim is to let them develop a good big frame so they can then finish off surplus grass from August onwards. By then most lambs are away so these beef cattle can turn excess grass into money.”

Continuing Ian explained that lambs are lifted weekly; cull ewes as required, from Strangford Down collection points in Rathfriland, Saintfield, Kilkeel and Greyabbey by haulier David Angus, which saves time for full and part time farmers alike.

“The return from lambs sold through the group is better by £3 to £5 a head so no wonder over 17,000 lambs from 130 farmers went via Strangford Down to Linden Foods last year.

“As regards beef cattle marketed through the group to W D Meats or Linden Foods they are collected direct from each farm by haulier William Murphy.”

As the farm walk ended Ian noted that key inputs bought through Strangford Down, especially feed and fuel, come at very competitive rates...

“There is strength in numbers and size in any market place so Strangford Down has been a huge success for over 21 years and is one of the largest producer groups in NI.”

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link Driving Efficiency and Growth in UK Agriculture
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link Colleges

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