The Fearn Farm sheep flock is made up of a large commercial flock run alongside three purebred flocks and the recent addition of a hybrid flock of Aberfields.
Purebred flocks include 130 pedigree Texels, 35 pedigree Beltex and a small flock of New Zealand Suffolks, with embryo transfer being used to help expand this flock in a relatively short timeframe.
The commercial flock is split across three farms, with 1500 commercial ewes farmed at Fearn Farm itself. These are largely Texel crosses, with 1100 of them being ewes and a further 400 ewe lambs tupped each year too.
At Nigg, a locally rented holding, another 1200 ewes are run, with these being a crossbred flock tupped with homebred Texel and Suffolk tups.
And on the Sutherland block a further 1350 Cheviot and Shetland Cheviot ewes are run on a low-input system. These ewes are lambed outside, with a nucleus flock bred pure and the remainder served to Aberfield sires and draft ewes tupped by New Zealand Suffolks.
A large number of crossbred ewes are also used for embryo transfer work as embryo recipients, with up to 700 embryos implanted each year.
The recently added Aberfield flock has been founded entirely on ET work and the aim is to breed Aberfeild tups for sale at our annual on-farm ram sale for use breeding crossbred ewes from hill flocks.
Rams from the purebred flocks are sold both at our annual on-farm ‘Great from Grass’ ram sale which takes place in August each year. In 2013 the 35 Texel shearlings sold at the sale averaged £600, while the 10 New Zealand Suffolk ram lambs averaged £700.
Progeny from the commercial flocks are either retained for breeding or sold as prime lambs on a deadweight basis to Woodhead Brothers at Turriff.