Philip & Charlie Whitehouse, Bradley Farm, Gloucestershire
- The sheep enterprise is part of a mixed 930ha farm
- > 700ha combinable crops, 1,000 milking goats, a suckler herd, 1,000 pedigree Lleyn ewes
- Trial ewes lamb in February and are turned out to clean grazing
- All lambs finish from grass by the end of August
- RamCompare is showing the value of measuring and recording the sheep enterprise to enable clear and informed decisions
Key finding: “The rams supplied over the years, have come in all conditions and breed types, presented from top show condition to rams in extremely commercial working clothes, however it is clear that all lambs from all sires bear no resemblance. Thus proving to us that EBVs are far more important than both ram appearance and condition. The lambs produced from all rams have produced quality lambs which is clear from a very early age.”
“There will always be a sheep industry, because these animals utilise land which other enterprises cannot benefit from but, in order to remain successful in the industry, it is vital to drive down cost of production where we can and it is clear to us that genetics play an important part in that.” Philip Whitehouse.
Find out more about Philip Whitehouse
First to sign up to RamCompare and with first hand experience of the impact genetic improvement has had on their goat enterprise, Philip and Charlie Whitehouse are excited to be involving their sheep enterprise in this project, here they tell us about their enterprise……
Who are you and where do you farm?
Philip and son Charlie based at Bradley Farm, Gloucestershire operate a traditional mixed farm enterprise with 2300 acres. 1800 acres are combinable crops for cereal seed production and remaining land is used for livestock production. They have a 65 cow suckler herd and a flock of 1000 ewes in total, of which 600 are a purebred Lleyn flock, 50 purebred Charollais flock, the remainder are Lleyns run commercially. In addition they milk 1000 goats.
Charlie manages the cereals and goat enterprises as well as managing the contracting side of the business. Kate Robinson, an NSA Young Ambassador, is one of two shepherds employed full time, overseen by Philip, Kate will be supervising this project for its duration at Bradley farm.
Have you used recorded rams in the past?
They purchase recorded rams for their Charollais flock, aiming for rams with figures in the top 20 per cent, they select 20 pure homebred Charollais ram lambs to use on their commercial March lambing Lleyns providing prime lamb through to December.
What sort of ewes do you have?
They operate single sire mating groups with their pedigree flocks, and lamb these in February. The commercial Lleyns run with Charollais rams to lamb in March.
How would you describe your sheep enterprise?
Lambing indoors from March, they finish everything off grass. Lambs are weaned at 12 – 16 weeks and as part of the Sainsburys Development Group they sell finished lambs to Randall Parker from weaning through to December. They buy in an additional 2000 store lambs in August to October, and these are finished by the end of February, clearing the farm in time for lambing to commence.
What excites you about the project?
“We feel it is important to be involved in this project because we need to keep at the forefront of the sheep breeding industry” said Philip Whitehouse