Colum Woods runs an expansive upland sheep enterprise near Hilltown in South Co Down with a mix of Blackface, New Zealand Romney and Lleyn breed types featuring prominently within his ewe flocks.
“The focus is very much on spring lambing with most of the lambs sold as stores in the back end,” he said.
“Improving the number of lambs reared per ewe has been a key objective for the business over recent years: hence the inclusion of Romney and Lleyn bloodlines over recent years.”
Colum will readily admit that 2015 is shaping up to be a very good lambing season.
“The ewes went to the tips in excellent condition last autumn. We had no end of grass at that time. The subsequent scanning results were also excellent,” he said.
“The lambing season is just about over. But I wouldn’t like to comment on how well lambs are performing until we gather the ewes for their first worming drench in a few weeks’ time. Mind you the current cold spell is not doing much for grass growth.”
Colum is totally committed to securing the best possible levels of performance from his ewes and lambs. And, in this regard, he is very conscious of the need to ensure that the animals receive their full complement of minerals and vitamins at all times.
“This came to a head a few years ago when blood tests confirmed that we had a Selenium deficiency problem on the farm,” he explained.
“In response to this I started drenching the ewes with Provitamin, from Provita, both pre tupping and pre lambing. I also drench the lambs with the product at the time of their first worming and every four weeks thereafter. And it’s an approach that has worked in terms of providing that all important nutritional boost.”
Provita’s Tommy Armstrong was a recent visitor to the Woods’ farm.
“ProVitaMin contains a range of chelated minerals, vitamins and trace elements in an ultra-concentrated liquid drench form. It contains all the essential minerals, vitamins and trace element that will provide breeding ewes with that all important nutritional boost pre tupping,” he said.
“It can also be used to boost lamb growth rates both pre and post weaning,” Tommy Armstrong further explained.
ProVitaMin contains 25 different trace elements at an optimal level, in order to help correct deficiencies, improve fertility and growth rates.
The high level of B vitamins helps stimulate appetite and the chelated metals allow for a slow release benefit.
Colum Woods is also keen to point out that Provitamin is easy to administer.
“It flows very easily and does not choke the animals,” he said.
“This is very important when administering products of this nature to young lambs especially.”
Tommy concluded: “With a lambing scan percentage of 170% this is a performance well above average for this lambing system and is a great achievement by Colum Woods. His excellent management and the use of ProVitaMin have helped him achieve this.”