Sheep take centre stage at meeting

Simon Bainbridge of the Northumberland Monitor Farm with his daughter Abigail.
Simon Bainbridge of the Northumberland Monitor Farm with his daughter Abigail.

SHEEP will take centre stage at the next Northumberland Monitor Farm meeting.

Farmers across the region are invited to attend the session next Thursday when Senior Sheep Consultant for the Scottish Agricultural College John Vipond will be keynote speaker, joined by representatives of the British Wool Marketing Board.

Farmer Simon Bainbridge, of the Donkin Rigg Monitor Farm near Cambo, has been looking into simplifying breeding and has trialled a number of different tups over the last lambing season. He will reassess the breeds, give an update on how lambing has gone and detail the split weaning trial he will be testing.

He said: “The meeting offers insight into the inner workings of the sheep industry — from the wool on their backs to the meat they bring to the table.

“We have three experts in their field attending, who know this area well. It all comes down to maximising your own efficiency and in turn maximising the profits available from farming sheep.”

The farm has a herd of 140 cows plus followers and a flock of 1,400 ewes, including North of England Mules, Swaledale Sheep and some Swaledale Cross Hexham Type Blackfaces.

Dr Vipond, who has been reviewing the sheep operation on the farm, will discuss the outcome of his consultation work there.

The aim of the project is to improve efficiency and productivity and share successes and failures with other local farmers.

Meetings are open to all farmers and are designed to be practical and relevant. The future programme will include the use of the FARMAX scheme, cow efficiency, market output and farm co-op.

The meeting on Thursday begins at Rothley East Shield near Scots Gap at 5pm, ending at Donkin Rigg.

Booking is essential on 0870 241528.