Kevin McCarthy and his wife Anna are well-known sheep breeders operating from Mossbank Farm in Comber, Northern Ireland.
Selected breeding combined with good management practice has helped to position their Ballycreelly Hampshire Down sheep within the breed’s top 10%. Kevin’s Ballycreelly flock was named the top flock in both the UK and Ireland in 2017.
Their Hampshire Down flock was established in 1984, with pure-bred Beltex added in the early 1990’s. In more recent years they have also introduced Hampshire Cross Beltex, known as Hamptex, which have particular appeal amongst commercial farmers and end users.
Kevin knows what he is looking for in quality sheep and is very much an advocate of performance recording. This is something which he has been doing for 30 years and he particularly looks at growth rates and muscling.
He regularly attends the premier sales in England and Scotland, commanding top prices and he also exports to France, Holland, Belgium and the Republic of Ireland.
His keen eye is very much in demand and he has been called upon to judge the Hampshire Down breed at the Argentinian National Show in Buenos Aires and at the Salon D’Agriculture in Paris on four different occasions.
Kevin and Anna bolus their Hampshire Down sheep with Tracesure® Sheep With Copper (formerly known as Tracesure® Sheep Trafﬁc Lights) and their Beltex sheep with Tracesure® Sheep & Lamb (formerly known as Tracesure® 3-in-1 Sheep & Lamb). They say that it has given them excellent results and ‘peace of mind’ in terms of good flock management practice.
“We want to breed consistently good lambs and Tracesure® helps us to achieve that,” says Kevin, whose daughter Alex also helps out on the 30 hectares farm.
“We bolus our ewes twice a year and the lambs are bolused when they reach 35kgs pre-weaning.
“It helps to maintain healthy sheep and is very noticeable in the colour and texture of their fleece. I can really see the results.”
Tracesure® boluses deliver a slow release, over up to six months, of cobalt, iodine, selenium, and where needed copper, depending on individual circumstances such as the breed or amount of copper available in the diet, and this is another big plus for Kevin.
“In the past I used drenches but was then introduced to Tracesure® through recommendation and after using it myself, I haven’t looked back,” says Kevin. “It’s a confidence thing and I have total confidence in the product.
“There are so many positives in terms of growth, vitality, milk production and general conditioning.
“Put simply, it works!”