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Stackyard News May 2012

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Key Sheep Focus at Next Monitor Farm Meeting

The May meeting of the Northumberland Monitor Farm will focus on sheep with Senior Sheep Consultant for the Scottish Agricultural College, John Vipond as keynote speaker. John, one of the foremost sheep experts in the United Kingdom will be joined by representatives of the British Wool Marketing Board including Chairman, Malcom Corbett and Regional Manager for Scotland, the North East and Ireland, Stephen Ballinger.

Simon Bainbridge of the Northumberland Monitor Farm with his daughter Abigail

Simon Bainbridge

The meeting will take place on the 31st of May, starting with registration and the first part of the meeting being held at Rothley East Shield, near Scots Gap at 5.00pm, and finishing up at Donkin Rigg.

With wool becoming increasingly more valuable in contrast to recent times this meeting will detail some of the factors that the industry is looking for from farmers across the country.

Simon Bainbridge, of Donkin Rigg Monitor Farm has been looking into simplifying breeding on the sheep side of the business. Over the last lambing season he has trialled a number of different tups, and he is keen to bring in a tup from some of the foremost breeding genetics in the country for next season. Simon would like to use this opportunity to reassess the breeds currently being used on the farm, and look at the opportunities other breed types may present.

Simon will give an update on how lambing has gone on the farm over the last few weeks and detail the split weaning trial he will be testing on the farm in a few months time.

Dr. Vipond, who has been reviewing the Sheep Operation on the Monitor Farm, will focus on the outcome of his consultation work with Donkin Rigg.

John McFarlane, of Alnorthumbria Veterinary Group and one of the Monitor Farm’s project managers commented on the upcoming meeting;

“We are very pleased to have someone as experienced as John Vipond as a consultant on the project. He is one of the major figures in promoting change in the industry. Dr. Vipond was instrumental in encouraging the use of so-called “easycare sheep” as a means of driving down costs for farmers. He is convinced that efficiency of operation is the force that should drive any enterprise, and is keen to maximise the Monitor Farm’s efficiency and in turn raise profits”.

The Northumberland Monitor Farm currently has a herd of 140 cows plus followers and a flock of 1400 ewes including North of England Mules and Swaledale Sheep, with some Swaledale Cross Hexham Type Blackfaces. Simon is keen to encourage sheep farmers to the meeting and remarked;

“The meeting offers insight into the inner workings of the sheep industry – from the wool on their backs to the meat they bring to the table. We have three experts in their field attending, who know this area well. It all comes down to maximising your own efficiency and in turn – maximising the profits available from farming sheep”.

The future programme for the Monitor Farm includes meetings in July, October, November, January and February. Topics will include the use of the FARMAX scheme, Cow Efficiency, Market Output for Sheep and Lamb Financials, Farm Co-Op and the results of the split weaning trials.

The aim of the Monitor Farm Project is to improve efficiency and productivity and share successes (and failures) with farmers in Northumberland and beyond. All Monitor Farm Meetings are open to all farmers in the region and are designed to be both practical and relevant.

The Monitor Farm is supported by OneNE, Lantra Landskills NE, RDPE, EFFP, NNATA, EBLEX and is managed by its steering group; including John Naylor and John McFarlane from the Alnorthumbria Vet Group.

Bookings for 31st May are essential. To reserve a place, please contact EBLEX on
0870 241 528. Refreshments will be available.

link Dorset Sheep in Demand with Increased Average at May Fair
link Inaugural Prime Beltex Hoggets Show at Stirling
link NSA Scotsheep 2012 Young Shepherd of the Year

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