Northern Ireland Branch Spring Lamb Competition.
The Northern Ireland Branch of the Suffolk Sheep Society held a Spring Lamb Competition at Ballymena Mart on Wednesday 25th April 2012. The competition had two classes; one for pure bred lambs and another for commercial stock. The event was well attended with over twenty lots. Glenfarm Supplies were the kind sponsors which was ably judged by Brendan Kelly.
The 1st prize pen of three pedigree Suffolk lambs came from well known livestock breeder, Patrick Donnelly, Martinstown. This special pen also received reserve overall on the day. The final bid of £116 came from Stephen Buick, Bruce’s Hill, Kells. These lambs are destined for retail through their award winning farm shop.
Winning a rosette is a pleasing accolade but satisfying your customer is more important. In a follow up to the competition the Society has obtained the carcass results for the 1st prize lambs from Ballymena Meats. The three lambs had an average liveweight of 26kg half weight. The lambs were killed the following morning to average 26.33kg cold carcass weight. This equates to a kill out percentage of 50.6 per cent. The three lambs had an average age of slightly over 16 weeks. Two of the lambs were from a set of triplets and both graded E3. The other was from a set of twins and graded U3. All lambs were sired by Bailey’s Paddy Power which is the Stock Ram at the Donrho flock, owned by Patrick Donnelly.
Dr Lewis McClinton, Chief Executive of the Suffolk Society said, “Suffolk breeders are now focused on improving the carcass quality of their pedigree rams. This is evident from the figures above. What other breed could produce a cold carcass weight of over 26kg, at 16 weeks of age and hit the best grades? Had it not been for this competition, these lambs would have been sold at 12 weeks of age and would still have hit market specification. With the increasing costs of production, the speed at which a sheep can be off the farm, while still meeting market specification, is essential to maximising profit. The Suffolk breed can achieve this”.