The aim of the sheep enterprise is to educate and equip students with the necessary practical, technical and financial skills for running a sustainable business.
The sheep enterprise comprises of two flocks, an early lambing flock of 80 ewes to lamb in January and 325 mid-season ewes lambing in early March. The mid-season flock lamb approximately 35 ewe lambs.
The sheep enterprise consists of three sub – enterprises as follows;
- 70-80 early lambing ewes sponged to lamb in January.
- 325 mid-season ewes lambing in early March for a five-week period. This flock is managed to produce replacements using maternally selected Texel rams and terminal lambs using Charollais. The aim of this flock is to lamb to grass, consequently ram turnout is around 7th October with a breeding season of five weeks.
- 50 ewe lambs selected from maternal rams which have achieved a liveweight of at least 50kg (60% of mature ewe weight) at mating time. These ewe lambs have vasectomised rams joined on the same date that the fertile rams are introduced to the mid-season flock, with Charollais rams being introduced two weeks later.
The breeding policy is to run a medium prolificacy ewe flock with a target output of 1.6 lambs weaned per ewe joined to the ram. This flock consists of Suffolk x Cheviot ewe (Borris ewe) replacements.
The practice of treating ewes for stomach worms is reviewed based on the results of the FECRT.
Routine fluke treatments are administered based on FEC or factory data.
Vaccinations: Clostridia, pasteurella, toxoplasmosis, enzootic and Orf
External Parasites: Plunge dipped. In years where the flock is not plunge dipped an alternative pour-on is used to protect against biting lice
Lameness Control: The target for the college flock is to achieve an overall lameness level of <5% and ideally under 2%.
The aim is to maximise the use of grazed grass. Approximately 850kg DM is required per ewe and lamb unit, so at a stocking rate of 11.7 ewes per hectare a grass requirement of just under 10t DM/ha is grown per adjusted hectare. All sheep groups are co-grazed with cattle in a rotational grazing system.