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ABOUT PERFORMANCE RECORDED EASYCARE SHEEP

 

Performance recorded easycare sheep are produced by a group of sheep breeders who have taken a unique, three-cornered approach to efficient sheep production for the 21st century. The flocks, based on Easycare genetics, have been selected on the following criteria:

  • Wool shedding
  • Low-input/’Easy Care’
  • Performance Recording

 

WHY NO WOOL?

With wool’s cost of production being £2.96/kg (T. White 2011), recent increases in the average off-farm wool price to £2.20/kg are put in perspective. In addition, wool diverts energy and protein away from milk production and lamb growth. With meat being seven times more energy efficient to grow on a sheep than wool, it is little wonder that sheep keepers interested in fast-growing lambs are increasingly moving towards stock whose fleece won’t hold them back while enjoying the benefits of a much-reduced workload:

  • No shearing
  • No dagging
  • No belly clipping for slaughter
  • Virtually no fly strike
  • No sheep cowped/stuck on back  Reduced heat stress - yet still hardy

 

WHY LOW INPUT?

Low-input and ‘easy care’ sheep systems are increasingly important to British and Irish farmers wishing to maximise profits and minimise their labour requirement. As members of the Maternal Sheep Group our aim is to breed an efficient ewe that will lamb outdoors and be capable of rearing two good lambs to killing weight in the shortest possible time on a predominantly grass/forage diet.  She must also create the least possible amount of work and hassle. Removing the burden of excessive wool is an excellent starting point but we also select for:

  • Ease of lambing
  • Two lambs per ewe
  • Lively lambs, quick to suckle
  • Good maternal instinct
  • Problem-free feet
  • Lack of dags
  • Parasite resistance 

 

WHY PERFORMANCE RECORD?

With wool removed from the equation, and the ‘10% that cause 90% of the work’ being culled out, the challenge is to identify the high-fliers in the flock and accelerate genetic progress in lamb growth and other profit-boosting traits. The proven route to success is by taking part in a formal performance-recording scheme. Research has shown that prime lambs by a high-index tup are worth £3/head more (EBLEX 2006), while daughters of tups with high maternal Estimated Breeding Values can generate an extra £11 per year compared with those by a low-index rival (Scottish Sheep Strategy 2010). High-index tups may be worth an extra £750 over their lifetime (Scottish Sheep Strategy 2010).

 

HOW CAN WE HELP YOUR PROFITS?

We can supply females of all ages and tups which won’t melt when given grass to eat and a large number of ewes to tup:

  • Female Replacements: Rely on us to supply ewes which have been selected with your bottom line in mind, not show-ring window dressing, and cross well with any terminal sire.
  • Close your flock: Use a Performance Recorded Easycare tup to breed replacements suited to your farm and your system. Free yourself and your flock from the burden of wool-related tasks.
  • Woolshedding flocks: Flockmasters who have already taken the wool off their sheep can now enjoy the proven benefits of using performance-recorded genetics.
  • Flexibility: No shearing, outdoor lambing and healthier sheep mean that your time, buildings and money can be used elsewhere. Want to run more sheep with the same labour units? Or utilise off-farm grazing without the hassle of constant handlings?
.

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ABOUT PERFORMANCE RECORDED EASYCARE SHEEP

 

Performance recorded easycare sheep are produced by a group of sheep breeders who have taken a unique, three-cornered approach to efficient sheep production for the 21st century. The flocks, based on Easycare genetics, have been selected on the following criteria:

  • Wool shedding
  • Low-input/’Easy Care’
  • Performance Recording

 

WHY NO WOOL?

With wool’s cost of production being £2.96/kg (T. White 2011), recent increases in the average off-farm wool price to £2.20/kg are put in perspective. In addition, wool diverts energy and protein away from milk production and lamb growth. With meat being seven times more energy efficient to grow on a sheep than wool, it is little wonder that sheep keepers interested in fast-growing lambs are increasingly moving towards stock whose fleece won’t hold them back while enjoying the benefits of a much-reduced workload:

  • No shearing
  • No dagging
  • No belly clipping for slaughter
  • Virtually no fly strike
  • No sheep cowped/stuck on back  Reduced heat stress - yet still hardy

 

WHY LOW INPUT?

Low-input and ‘easy care’ sheep systems are increasingly important to British and Irish farmers wishing to maximise profits and minimise their labour requirement. As members of the Maternal Sheep Group our aim is to breed an efficient ewe that will lamb outdoors and be capable of rearing two good lambs to killing weight in the shortest possible time on a predominantly grass/forage diet.  She must also create the least possible amount of work and hassle. Removing the burden of excessive wool is an excellent starting point but we also select for:

  • Ease of lambing
  • Two lambs per ewe
  • Lively lambs, quick to suckle
  • Good maternal instinct
  • Problem-free feet
  • Lack of dags
  • Parasite resistance 

 

WHY PERFORMANCE RECORD?

With wool removed from the equation, and the ‘10% that cause 90% of the work’ being culled out, the challenge is to identify the high-fliers in the flock and accelerate genetic progress in lamb growth and other profit-boosting traits. The proven route to success is by taking part in a formal performance-recording scheme. Research has shown that prime lambs by a high-index tup are worth £3/head more (EBLEX 2006), while daughters of tups with high maternal Estimated Breeding Values can generate an extra £11 per year compared with those by a low-index rival (Scottish Sheep Strategy 2010). High-index tups may be worth an extra £750 over their lifetime (Scottish Sheep Strategy 2010).

 

HOW CAN WE HELP YOUR PROFITS?

We can supply females of all ages and tups which won’t melt when given grass to eat and a large number of ewes to tup:

  • Female Replacements: Rely on us to supply ewes which have been selected with your bottom line in mind, not show-ring window dressing, and cross well with any terminal sire.
  • Close your flock: Use a Performance Recorded Easycare tup to breed replacements suited to your farm and your system. Free yourself and your flock from the burden of wool-related tasks.
  • Woolshedding flocks: Flockmasters who have already taken the wool off their sheep can now enjoy the proven benefits of using performance-recorded genetics.
  • Flexibility: No shearing, outdoor lambing and healthier sheep mean that your time, buildings and money can be used elsewhere. Want to run more sheep with the same labour units? Or utilise off-farm grazing without the hassle of constant handlings?
.

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"I have used Easycare rams sourced from Roberta Johnston across my commercial ewe flock since 2008, retaining the ewe lambs as replacements. The Easycare breed definitely makes life a lot easier at lambing time, with the lambs demonstrating a tremendous will to live and the easycare cross ewes displaying great mothering instincts. So far the male lambs have been sold live through the local mart at comparable prices to other breeds. It is also reassuring to know that the rams I am buying from Roberta are naturally reared and selected for the traits I want."

Robert McCaughern, who farms a flock of 500 ewes just outside Kilrea in County Antrim, N.Ireland.

“The Easycare ewes we bought were very milky and made a terrific job of rearing Hampshire Down X lambs. Not having to shear them meant that we could make good use of cheap rented grazing when the chance arose.”

Joe Henry, Northumberland.

“The small number of females I bought to try reared tremendous commercial lambs put to the Texel. I wanted to get rid of wool and I’m now replacing my commercial flock of Romneys and mules with Performance+ Easycares.”

A Fogarty, Northumberland.

“I got fed up with putting my mules through the footbath and wool was worth nothing, so I changed to Easycare. I’ve never regretted it.

H Thompson, N Yorks.

"I have used several Easycare rams across my Cheviot flock in an effort to reduce the work load, not just at lambing time but throughout the year. To date I have been very impressed and intend to continue sourcing naturally reared easycare rams. The Easycare breed with all its labour reducing  attributes, especially wool shedding, is allowing me to keep sheep into my retirement."

James McAuley, who farms a flock of 150 ewes just outside Cushendun in County Antrim, N.Ireland.

“I bought tup lambs to use on Lleyn ewes. They were keen workers and I have been very pleased with the resulting lambs and will be continuing down this route.”

Neil Crighton, Scottish Borders.

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