The Innovis nucleus flock makes the 300 mile journey up to their new home in the Scottish Borders

Innovis in partnership with the Buccleuch Estate

Innovis’ nucleus flock has made a 300 mile journey from west Wales to its new home, Southfield Farm near Hawick on Buccleuch’s Borders Estate. 

The performance recorded flock comprising 800 ewes and 600 ewe lambs is made up in equal numbers of Aberfield, Abertex, Abermax, Aberdale, Highlander, Primera and Cheviot. Innovis ram production manager, Hamish MacDonald, who is relocating to his home area, will oversee the flock’s day to day management. 

Innovis chief executive, Dewi Jones will continue to head up Innovis and provide the exact same customer service from its Aberystwyth headquarters located on a 120-acre lowland unit used for ram growing and sales. The unit is also home to its genetics breeding team, accounts and marketing. 

Dewi Jones explains: “We established the nucleus flock 10 years ago on Mynydd Gorddu, an upland unit near Aberystwyth which has proved to be a great testing ground to select for commercial traits especially lamb survival and mothering ability. During that period, we have also transformed the farm through nutrient management and sub-division. 

“However, we have taken the decision to relocate one of the UK’s most intensively recorded performance recorded flocks to the Scottish Borders to improve Innovis’ overall efficiency,” he says. 

“Southfield has greater stock carrying capacity providing the opportunity to expand the flock on its 630 acres, it will offer us a more central location from which to service customers in Scotland and the north of England, who in turn will have access to some of the highest performing genetics in the Innovis breeding programme. 

“In addition, relocating will provide closer links with the Scottish research groups and with Scotland’s Rural College’s (SRUC) CT scanning unit, which is an important measuring tool we use to select for meat eating quality in some of our lines. In fact, a PhD in lamb survival is already underway in collaboration with SRUC and AgResearch in New Zealand. We hope that the flock’s new home will also provide opportunities to measure additional traits such as methane outputs. 

“The development will also provide Innovis with the opportunity to work closer with Buccleuch, with whom we have had a longstanding relationship with for over 10 years. Buccleuch uses Innovis’ genetics across a number of their estates and it breeds Primera and Abermax rams at Bowhill. We have also established a Cheviot recorded flock at Eldinhope, a 3,200 acre hill farm that has come back in hand, as part of Innovis’ new hill ram breeding program. Buccleuch’s progressive approach to farming on a large scale provides an exciting opportunity for us.” 

Buccleuch’s Borders Estate farm manager, Sion Williams said: “I have worked with Dewi and the team for a number of years now, and have long been impressed with their breeds and their forward-thinking approach, so much of which is aligned to Buccleuch’s own methods of livestock farming and our business ambitions. It gives me great pleasure to welcome Hamish MacDonald home to the Borders too, and I’m looking forward to having him around on the estate. To have the nucleus flock within the Borders estate is fantastic and will allow us to share ideas.” 

Ed Morris, manager of Buccleuch’s Borders Estate, said: “It gives me great pleasure to welcome Hamish back home to the Borders and we’re really looking forward to having him and the flock in residence on the Borders Estate. Taking the decision to relocate was a big move but is testament to the relationship Sion and the Innovis team have developed over several successful years working together, and our commitment to continuing that partnership.”

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