The fastest growing sheep breed in the UK, the Easy Care, is helping commercial farmers to excel. Both the Scottish and Northern Ireland Sheep Farmer of the year have revolutionised their businesses by introducing the Easy Care.
Graham Lofthouse, Bankmore Farm, Galashiels, and Campbell Tweed, Ballycoose, Larne, have utilised the strengths of the breed to dramatically increase production efficiency and reduce costs. Sheep farmers who have made the move to Easy Care ewes are: Keeping more ewes; Selling more lambs; Buying in less feed.
This is possible as right from birth Easy Care sheep want to live. Graham noted that even when scanning 184%, lamb mortality was only 7%. This was less than half his previous and the national average for lamb losses. Lambs are born easily to mothers who know how to look after them.
Campbell also finds this “will to live” a great advantage when lambing outdoors, but also likes the many other traits the breed has. “No wool, means no dagging, no shearing and very few ewes going on their back. This allows a man to look after over a 1,000 ewes. This is important when employing staff or if you are a part-time farmer,” says Campbell.
Allison and Jim Greer, Castleblayney, have an intensively managed lowland flock of 350 ewes and lambs. Since moving to the Easy Care breed Allison and Jim have been very impressed by both the number and quality of lambs they can now produce from the same area of grass. Ewes consistently reared 1.8 lambs, which encouraged the couple to mate ewe lambs. This is now an established part of the business, with ewe lambs rearing 1.1 lambs. Lambs are born outside in April with 85% sold off grass by the 1st October, averaging just over 20kg carcass weight.
To keep up-to-date with the Easy Care breed and breeders visit www.easycaresheep.com