February 3rd, 2013
Livestock: THE name ‘Tamnamoney’ has been synonymous with the highest standards of pedigree Texel breeding for over twenty years. Owned by Roger Strawbridge, who farms on the outskirts of Coleraine, the flock is recognised by both pedigree and commercial producers as a source of elite genetics with both female and male bloodlines capable of making that all important difference to any sheep enterprise.
The quality of the stock within the Tamnamoney flock has been repeatedly reflected in the price secured by Roger at sales, both here and in Scotland, over a significant number of years. For example, Tamnamoney Lynbrook sold in Lanark for 22,000 gns; while Tamnamoney Navvy and Tamnamoney Ned sold for 5,400gns and 5,200gns respectively. Significantly, Tamnamoney Ned went on to sire Forkins Rocksolid, which sold at Lanark for 65,000gns in 2010.
“The Texel breed has performed tremendously well for both pedigree and commercial sheep producers here in Northern Ireland.,” Roger commented.
“They produce a very high quality carcase and can maximise growth rates from grazed grass. Moreover, young lambs have a tremendous will to live.”
As one might imagine, the Tamnamoney flock has received many accolades. A case in point was its selection as the top Northern Ireland flock in the Janssen Flock Competition back in 2008.
The flock currently comprises 40 pedigree ewes. Lambing will commence on the 5th/6th of February. Ongoing investment has also been a key aspect to Roger’s overall approach to the management of the flock. For example, he built a polytunnel last year, which will be used a state of the art lambing facility over the coming weeks.
“The ewes were initially scanned in November and then again at the turn of the year. This allows me to identify those carrying singles, twins and triplets,” Roger explained.
“I am heavily committed to the use of embryo technology as an integral part of the flock breeding programme. Approximately 50 embryos were implanted last autumn. I use commercial ewes for this purpose.”
Roger starts offering concentrates to his ewes a month before lambing with feeding rates proportioned to meet the needs of those ewes carrying singles, twins and triplets.
“It’s important that the ewes lamb down in good condition with plenty of milk and that problems, such as Twin lamb Disease, are not an issue,” he further explained.
“To be honest I won’t offer a creep feed to the lambs until they are a number of weeks old. Milk is the most important form of concentrate that can be made available to them. And with this in mind ewes will each receive up to three and half pounds of meal in the period after lambing.”
Significantly Roger offers United Feeds’ Ewe and Lamb Nuts, both prior to and post lambing. Martin Clarke, his United Feeds’ Ruminant Sales Advisor was a recent visitor to the farm.
“The nuts ensure that the mothers have plenty of milk when they need it most. They contain 18% of a very high quality protein plus high levels of cereals,” Martin explained.
“High inclusion rates of Vitamin E and Selenium plus all the other vitamins and minerals, will also ensure that ewes receive the correct balance of nutrients they require both pre and post lambing.”
Martin concluded: “Last year’s poor grazing season and the very wet conditions that persisted throughout 2012 will have placed significant stress on all sheep flocks. Given these circumstances, it is crucially important that ewes receive that little bit of extra care and attention in the run up to the 2013 lambing season.”