Charollais sheep are a winning formula for Co Antrim farmer

Matt Taggart with his second placed pen of Charollais cross lambs
Matt Taggart with his second placed pen of Charollais cross lambs

Co Antrim farmer Tommy Fenton has long been an advocate of the Charollais breed since buying his first Charollais ram over two decades ago.

Such was Tommy’s enthusiasm for the breed that he initiated the organising of a fat lamb competition in what was then Ballymoney Market.

Tommy continued the competition in Ballymena Market when Ballymoney closed down.

Now in its 21st year the competition is still going strong, this is due in no small way to Tommy’s dedication.

Farming in Rasharkin Tommy runs a cross bred flock of mule cross ewes which he crosses with the Charollais ram.

Alongside this he also has a prizewinning flock of pure bred Charollais pedigree ewes which have won breed championships. His stock is in demand both from pedigree breeders and from commercial farmers.

Tommy likes the Charollais cross lambs because of their fast growth, the lambs never stop growing. Tommy uses the Charollais ram across his entire flock.

He says: “People need to get away from the notion that Charollais are just for ewe lambs, yes they are great for ewe lambs because of their easy lambing but Charollais cross lambs out of a ewe are very lively at birth and continue to go on well. Their great carcass and conformation is demanding a high price in the market.”

This year’s fat lamb competition in Ballymena Market was won by Neal Martin who later topped the market with his 24kg lambs selling for £105.

In second place was Matt Taggart his 26kg lambs selling for £93 and David Anderson who was third selling 25kg lambs for £89.

Thanks are extended to Reas of Finvoy for sponsorship and the Charollais Sheep Society.

Successful barbecue and stock judging

Two other Co Antrim breeders have been promoting the breed.

Alister Browne hosted a very successful barbecue and stock judging night helped by fellow breeder Matt Taggart.

Members enjoyed sumptuous food and some great craic.

Thanks are extended to United Feeds for sponsoring the stock judging and Thompsons Animal Feeds for sponsoring Guess The Weight and Tommy Fenton for judging.

A substantial donation was given to the Alzheimer’s Society.

Results of stock judging:

Under 18: 1st Kyle Glasgow, 2nd James Glasgow, 3rd Charlotte McAllister

Over 18: 1st Glenn Baird, 2nd David Anderson, 3rd Elizabeth Watson

Guess The Weight:

Under 18: Charlotte McAllister and 2nd Sarah Wilson

Over 18: 1st Joe McCarragher and 2nd, Elizabeth Watson.