When Paul Cass drove back from the livestock market to his grandfather Maurice’s 250-acre Beacon Farm at Scalby near Scarborough a decade ago, it was with the same load he had left with in the morning.
And while that might not sound like great business, it was his decision to do so that proved the catalyst for an award he received from York Auction Centre last week, for topping the sheep market price most times in the year.
“I remember my grandad saying ‘What are you doing? Trailer’s full’, but I wasn’t going to let them go for the price that was being offered.
“I said I’d buy a creep feeder, chuck them in the field and see how they did when we took the lambs off them, keeping the ewes, which was something we weren’t doing back then as we were running a flying flock of mainly Mule X ewes.
“It was the best thing I’ve ever done because I then started supplying RA Norman’s abattoir in Boosbeck and the bigger I got them the more they liked them. I sent them the lambs that had averaged 1.8 lambs per ewe and I was close to getting my money back while still having the ewes and that’s how my breeding flock started.”
Paul now has 300 Texel X and Beltex X ewes and uses mainly Beltex tups having used Charollais and Suffolk tups in his flying flock days. It is the Beltex tups that landed his award and their influence has become much greater in his flock since 2013.
“I first used a Beltex tup when I borrowed one from a local breeder, Thomas Hunter of Hunmanby, who’d said if I would feed it up I could have use of it. Its results were tremendous and in August two years ago I went to Borderway Mart in Carlisle for the Beltex Premier Sale thinking that if I bought yet more quality pedigree tups it would also help me improve the quality of my breeding gimmers”.