At Longwitton we’re lambing 1800 ewes most of which are housed for indoor lambing, this gives the grass a break so there is plenty at turnout. Our recent expansion in numbers means that we are now lambing 500 ewes outside slightly later than the main flock. We have a closed flock policy only buying in rams. Texel, Lleyn and now Aberdale breeding lines are being used. Our aim is to produce lots of 19 to 21kg lamb carcasses off grass.
The Riding Farm at Bellingham is an upland farm that carries 650 Blackface ewes. Mule ewe lambs are bred as well as replacement Blackface ewe lambs to sell and to retain in the flock. The majority of the rest of the lambs are sold for meat mainly off grass.
We are able to finish lambs in our sheds if they have not achieved necessary weights off grass. A total mixed ration based on our Lamb Feed finishes lambs extremely quickly.
We have 250 spring calving suckler cows between Longwitton and The Riding. The cows are housed all winter and calving between mid-March and May. After calving they are put out to grass. Bull calves are left entire. All of the calves are vaccinated to protect against pneumonia before weaning in October. All the cattle are then housed.
The bulls are put onto an intensive feed based on our Beef Ration mixed with maize silage. Most of the bulls achieve slaughter weight between 12 and 14 months old.
The heifers are fed on silage with added Beef Store Ration to give continuous growth throughout the winter. The best of our heifers are retained for breeding to enable us to have a closed herd. They calve at two years old. The rest of the heifers go back to grass for the rest of the summer, some being sold off grass fat, the rest being finished in the sheds on our Beef Finisher Ration.
Bulls used are Stabiliser, Simmental, Limousin, and Aberdeen Angus.
Housing a lot of sheep and cattle gives us a lot of muck to improve our arable ground.