Dungannon venue for 40th show and sale of Ile de France sheep

Stewart Adamson with Breed Champion RUAS 2016
Stewart Adamson with Breed Champion RUAS 2016

The Northern Ireland Ile de France Sheep Club are holding their 40th show and sale in Dungannon Farmers Mart on Thursday, August 4. Buyers are assured of an entry of high quality stock.

A successful year for The Carrick Flock of Ile de France sheep began at RUAS in Balmoral Park when Stewart Adamson was awarded Breed Champion with a ewe lamb.

Rebecca Mulligan with Garveway Senator and judge Colin Barnes

Rebecca Mulligan with Garveway Senator and judge Colin Barnes

This has been followed through the summer shows with various awards which have accumulated to ensure that the Carrick Flock has won The Closamectin Perpetual Trophy for The Show Team of the Year, The Breeders Cup and Sire of the Year. There was a clear hint of this success as the flock won the annual flock competition in the autumn of 2015. The flock was established by Edward Adamson, Carrickfergus and son Stewart is now taking on a lot of the management.

Edward reflects on the years gone by: “I first got involved with Ile de France in 1984 when some pedigree ewes were being sold at a dispersal sale due to ill health in my local market. Probably, like myself, not many buyers knew much about these sheep and I purchased a number at quite good value.

“The breed was first imported into the UK in the 1970’s along with Texels. The first importation was a daunting task as health regulations and testing was much stricter before we became an EU member.

“My first experience of the breed at lambing was a shepherd’s dream as they are easy to lamb, hardy and up and suckling quickly. Since then I have been breeding pedigree Ile de France sheep with several successes. I have bred or exhibited the Ile de France Breed Champion at The Royal Dublin, Royal Welsh and Royal Ulster Shows, Irish Inter-Continental Champion and the one I am most proud of is The Inter Breed Champion at Royal Ulster Show in 1993 competing against 13 other breeds.

“In Ram Lamb Performance Tests held by Department of Agriculture in N. Ireland between 1988-1992 Ile de France had an average muscle depth of 37 mm with Hillhead Kid topping the first test with a muscle depth of 40mm and Carrick Jasper holding the all breeds test record of 43.9 mm.

“I find it strange that they have not become more popular in the UK, maybe it’s because they have a woolly topknot and wool on their legs but what’s under the wool is a long solid sheep with an unbeatable loin depth. The breed has been exported from France to approximately 32 other countries throughout the world and while we were at The Paris Show this year a delegation from Bulgaria was in negotiations with the French breed representative regarding exportation.

“I have been involved in the export of embryos and semen to North America, a trade which would still be ongoing if health restrictions regarding Foot and Mouth, Blue Tongue and Smallinberg virus were resolved. Those exports have seen the establishment and progression of several very successful flocks in Canada and USA. Within the last few years Ile de France sheep have arrived in Australia and New Zealand with excellent results.

“For those not familiar with the breed they are worthy of your consideration and you may be pleasantly surprised by the result.”

The Garveway Flock owned by Rebecca and Georgina Mulligan, Augher picked up the Glenhoy Perpetual Shield awards for Male of the Year with Garveway Senator and female of the year with a homebred ewe. The girls were also runners up for The Show Team of the Year.