I farm: “25 pedigree Suffolk ewes, 100 commercial Suffolk and Texel crosses, 10 sucklers and 30 dry cattle on 80ac alongside my wife Deborah, children Tara (14), Lorna (12) and Conor (9) and mother Marie.”
Pedigree: “Our Lismurtagh Suffolk flock was formed in 1992 and we’ve been breeding rams for pedigree and commercial flocks since. With the Suffolk, you’re looking for good colours, good bone, nice heads and good conformation. You need some Suffolk in every flock for hardiness, milk, thrive and finishing. They have very few problems.”
Lambing: “We lamb the pedigrees indoors the first week of January and the commercials outside from 1 April. The commercial flock is closed with ewes put to Suffolk and lambs finished off grass to Kepak. We keep 20 of the top crossbred ewe lambs each year as replacements.
"We’re starting to get the pedigrees ready now for breeding in August with minerals and feet all being looked after. We’ll AI for the first time this year using our imported stock ram from Scotland.”
Sales: “We always bring a few to the Suffolk Sheep Society south of Ireland branch premier sale in Blessington, which will be 25 July this year and then two to the west of Ireland premier in Roscommon, which will be the 6 August. The rest will be mostly home sales and we sell all as ram lambs.
"We’ll bring one ewe lamb to Blessington, keep the rest as hoggets and sell the additional in-lamb ewes in their second autumn. It’s great to get back out to the shows this summer. It’s always a chance to meet different people and see all the breeds.”
Cattle: “We put our Limousin bull to our 10 spring calving continental cows, sell the bulls and finish all heifers. It’s hard to get profit with fertiliser prices where they are. People are going to have to give that bit more for stock.”
Next generation: “We lost my father Pat on 1 October last year. He was a man for good stock and that’s why there’s good stock at home. All the children have an interest, particularly in the shows, and I’d love to see it going forward into the next generation.”