The owner of one of the UK’s top Texel flocks, who boluses ewes with a trace element bolus six weeks pre-tupping, says flock fertility is consistently good.
Richard Henderson founded the Ballynahone Flock at Tobermore in 1990 and it has since become a top performer in the show and sales rings across the UK and Ireland.
Richard believes in producing quality pedigree stock that provide performance and growth in lambs from grass.
His land is deficient in selenium and iodine so he boluses the flock with Tracesure Sheep with Copper, which releases iodine, cobalt, selenium and copper.
Copper, which is contained in a separate capsule, is omitted from the application given to the Texels because the breed is known to be susceptible to copper toxicity.
He also boluses crossbred ewes that are used as recipients for embryos.
In the 2017/18 season Richard’s Texels achieved a scanning percentage of 175%.
“Sheep fertility is fantastic, there is a great holding to AI and to the embryos,” he says.
He tups the flock in the last week of September so the boluses are given in August. The sheep are also bolused with Tracesure a month before lambing when the benefit also passes to the lambs.
“The lambs are born strong and healthy and are quick to get up,” says Richard.
“Tracesure is a big factor in terms of achieving lamb vigour, ease of lambing and how well the lambs are. They are strong at birth and quick to get up and suck.”
Richard pays close attention to the female families within the flock, seeing this investment in female genetics as essential to breeding success. The evidence bears out his belief as Ballynahone females are highly successful both in the show and sales arenas.
Pedigree sires are sourced mainly from National sales.
Richard also runs a herd of pedigree Limousins and says a key to profitability in suckler production is producing a calf every year.
“If a cow is calving down every year, it means you are not losing money on her, she is not standing there stale,” he says.
The farm’s trace element deficiency had been impacting on fertility so he started bolusing with Tracesure Cattle with Copper twice a year, before turnout and housing.
“The Animax bolus keeps the cows more productive. Calves are stronger and up quicker to suckle, they never look back,” says Richard.