James Teasdale – Abermax and Primera – Cumbrian and Western Herald – July 2014

Forget the pretty looks, it’s all down to performance, says James Teasdale. James is introducing a new flock plan to improve profitability, which is focused on finishing his lamb crop to target weight as quickly as possible and solely from forage. And he believes he has found a solution in Innovis genetics – both Primera and Abermax terminal sires 

“We’re having a trial run over a portion of the flock. It’s early days, however our first draw of Primera cross lambs reached 19kg target finishing weight at 11 weeks, and both the twin Primera and Abermax cross lambs are on target to finish from 14 to 16 weeks,” explains James who together with his father, Allan farms a 400 ewe flock, a mix of Mules and Texel cross Mules, at Colstons, Melmerby.

“In fact we’re really impressed with the Primera cross twin lambs, they’re growing like mushrooms, tipping the scales at 30kg at 10 weeks, they are really long, have good skins and seem to have good conformation. Same age Abermax crosses are performing similarly, and are deceivingly heavy. With the entire crop of April born lambs scheduled to be away by August, that means grass will be freed up up to three months earlier for use later on at tupping.

The Teasdales have been advocates of using pure Continental sires. “We were rearing a fancy lamb, and used to achieve premiums for a tremendous number grading within the E and U bracket, however we have come to realise that extra kilos earlier in the year are financially more rewarding than better grades later in the season. That time spent finishing was costing us more than we were reaping.

“Seeking alternative terminal sires, when we caught our first glimpse of Primera rams, they were very different to what we had ever bought before and I did worry over the winter that we were going to regret our purchase, but looking back I'm glad we did," says Allan. "We were told they that both Primera and Abermax rams would leave lambs that would finish to 20kg far quicker and solely off grass  and grade within the R 3L bracket, and so far we can honestly say they’re doing what it says on the tin. These rams also came with the reassurance they’re performance recorded and accompanied by a set of EBVs.”

He adds: “Adopting a low input system and maximising the number of kilos of lamb from grass as quickly and efficiently has to be the future for a LFA/SDA unit like ours and we think we’re on to a winner simply by changing our flock’s terminal sires to Innovis genetics.”

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