Peter Brewis farms extensively an arable / grassland unit on the North East coast of Northumberland. He has a closed herd of 200 Stabiliser breeding cows, buying only bulls. He runs 1000 ewes, 350 Mules and 650 Essie Suffolk cross ewes. The sheep are used as an important break in the crop rotation, adding fertility and organic matter to the soil.
“The Mules are bought specifically to breed our own replacement Suffolk cross ewes. It is important to source rams with high Maternal EBVs. Essie Suffolk rams combine high Maternal EBVs with high Scan weights and Muscle depths. Nowadays our Suffolk cross lambs definitely have more vigour and are quicker on their feet. “Our Suffolk cross ewes, tupped by Texels in October, have plenty of lambs with good length, and are milky good mothers. 80% of our lambs are sold off their mothers and off grass from the last week of May, June and are all away by the beginning of July (approx 12 weeks old) and so maximise profitability.”
Peter has bought Essie Suffolk rams for more than 8 years, replenishing rams as required – sometimes 2 or 3, sometimes only 1 because the older ones are doing fine.