- Date: 22 Jul 2011
- Venue: Crosby Cleland's farm at Saintfield
Approximately 150 visitors from all over Northern Ireland and beyond took part in the recent farm visit hosted by Saintfield sheep producer Crosby Cleland for members of the Ulster Grassland Society.
The 76 hectare farm business consists of 750 Lleyn and Highlander ewes crossed to Primera. The flock management is to a very high standard. Meticulous records are kept and with the aid of EID using the Shearwell and Frameworks programme. This assists with management and selection of the best stock to keep for breeding.
His key objectives are to increase growth and numbers of lambs weaned achieving greater output, in other words kilos produced per hectare, and to have an easier care system which increases the number of ewes per labour unit. Crosby’s ram selection criteria are focused on: maternal ability, ease of lambing and growth rate.”
Great emphasis is also placed on the management of his grassland. The flock is rotationally grazed and he has roadways throughout the farm which permit one man to easily move the stock.”
Crosby aims to reseed approximately 6 hectares per year. The old sward is well grazed down before being burnt off with Roundup. A Guttler Greenmaster is then used to reseed over spiked land. Using this system Crosby has found no problems with the weather, buck thistle, stones lifting and it is much cheaper than conventional reseeding methods. The Guttler or quad bike plus spinner has also been used for clover- stitching. Most of his swards have a high clover content, which greatly reduced fertiliser use.
Crosby’s reseeding policy was discussed in detail during the visit. Ewes are housed from December to March and all of Crosby’s housing, including the ‘lambing house’ was available for inspection during the visit.”