Lemmington Hill Head, Alnwick, Northumberland
50% comprising 38ha set aside for wintering and 72ha improved grassland as part of the wintering ground’s rotation. Part of the wintering rotation features deferred grass/bale grazing for suckler cows, deferred grass/fodder beet for young cattle, a brassica mix for in lamb ewe lambs and fodder beet for ewes. Remaining ground when not used for wintering goes into diverse pasture mix including legumes and herbs.
50% old permanent pasture, SDA or LFA.
1,550 Aberfield¸ Abertex and Aberdale ewes.
Ram rearing unit taking 350 to 400 rams into winter on an all grass wintering system and developing a shedding Aberfield line.
B flock – Innovis ewes for finished lamb production.
Around 100 sucklers to the bull with young stock taken through to finish where possible or used as tradable stock if pasture is short, ie offload young steers or forward steer stores in drought.
2023 launching on farm butchery and food processing facility allowing us to sell boxed forage reared beef and lamb direct to consumers along with frozen ready meals.
Farming background and objectives
Forage focused livestock production based around grazing pasture and utilising winter forage crops grazed in situ. Rotationally grazed pasture, managed to increase utilisation, output and performance. Heavy selection pressure and no passengers, breeding stock must earn their spot on the farm, work them hard and identify the wheat from the chaff.
Heavy stocking rate on a pasture-based system means no room for preference, perform or go. Heavily recorded stock aids in identifying superior genetics, challenging them rigorously means we can carry the flock/herd forward focusing on low input, low management requirements and improved performance.
Environmentally and financially sustainable livestock production. Embedding resilience to outside forces, weather and market shifts, to ensure a profitable farming business. Develop our local environment, enhancing nature wherever possible on farm to increase biodiversity alongside grazing livestock and help bring on the next generation of farmers.
Interesting fact about your farm
2014 Nuffield scholar looking at increasing the economic efficiency of sheep production. NFU NE livestock board, NFU Northumberland county chairman. AHDB Agrileader group, AHDB Challenge sheep farm, former AHDB progressive sheep group member; precision grazing group member. Host local grazing groups. Horizon2020 SuperG trial farm in collaboration with ADAS. British Farming Awards Sheep Farmer of the Year, silver.
When and why did you become an Innovis breeding partner?
2013/2014 after using Aberfield rams and Innovis’ regard for our forage-based system, together with our plans for the flock genetics and pasture management. The first embryos arrived in 2014, and since then approximately 2,400 have been implanted to establish flocks of breeding females required to naturally breed rams. Furthermore, I was collecting KPIs and performance data and liked the idea of going down the fully recorded route to enable us to best analyse and appraise flock performance on farm.
What do you enjoy most about your role with Innovis?
Good to work with a forward thinking team, focused on what is needed to help develop the sheep industry for the future.