The name McAllister is synonymous with the highest standards of pedigree sheep and cattle breeding.
It’s a reputation that has been founded on the back of a tremendous commitment to sourcing the best genetics while, at the same time, applying the highest herd and flock management standards. And where young stock is concerned, this commitment kicks in within seconds of birth.
William and Libby Mc Allister are the driving forces behind their 100 plus elite Beltex, Charollais and Texel ewes. They farm near Kells in Co Antrim. The three flocks are all registered under the Artnagullion prefix.
Extensive flushing of their pedigree females has led to the production of elite quality embryos on an annual basis, which are then implanted in commercial cross-bred ewes. Show success at the likes of Balmoral Show has been complemented with equally impressive sale results at venues across the UK.
In addition to the breeding of top quality pedigree stock the McAllister’s are also widely recognised for their breeding of elite, cross bred rams, which are used as terminal sires within lowland flocks throughout the British Isles.
“The cross bred rams are produced by mating purebred Charollais or Texel ewes with Beltex rams,” Libby explained.
“We normally have 40 to 50 cross bred shearlings to sell each year. There is a tremendous demand for this type of ram in Scotland.
“Breeders know that they will be able to produce high quality, meat-producing lambs. The hybrid vigour associated with the rams will also boost fertility.”
Significantly, every lamb born on the farm receives a dose of Provita Lamb Colostrum within 15 minutes of birth.
“This helps them get up and going by themselves,” Libby explained.
“In particular it gives new born lambs the get-up-and-go to get a suck from their mothers.”
“We have been doing this for the last 12 years. The colostrum powder is easy to mix and is very easy to administer especially in the middle of the night. It also gives the newborns that bit of extra energy and a real feeling of warmth that will encourage them to suckle their mothers. I wouldn’t go to bed without ensuring that all the lambs get a suck of the Provita colostrum.
“Provita Lamb Colostrum has a rich consistency and is easy to mix, which is especially important during the night.” In light of this the McAllister family consider the cost as being inexpensive as it is saving the lives of numerous lambs.
“The current strength of the commercial market makes it all the more important for flock owners to keep as many lambs as possible alive,” she said.