Getting rams into tip-top condition for sale day is a priority for pedigree Texel breeder, Kirree Kermode, but it is the performance of these animals at tupping that her customers judge her on.
Every tup Kirree sells is bolused with Tracesure Sheep, a slow release trace element bolus containing iodine, cobalt and selenium.
“I not only want the sheep to look 100% when they go to sale, but they have to perform exceptionally well at tupping. If they do the job then we can be sure that our buyers will be back the following year,” says Kirree. “Tracesure helps us to achieve that. We see a noticeable change as soon as the sheep have been bolused. Their fleeces tighten and they have a nice colour.”
Kirree farms with her parents, Pip and Carol, and brothers, Tom and Caesar, at Orrisdale Farm, near Ballasalla, on the Isle of Man. Kirree is a familiar voice to listeners of Manx Radio as she is a freelance presenter specialising in farming issues.
The Kermodes have some pedigree Texels and Charollais sheep but their commercial flock of 1,200 ewes is an important part of the business. They sell 100 Continental shearling ewes each year and these are bolused too. They also have 300 suckler cows, including pedigree Limousins and a commercial herd of Aberdeen Angus cows.
The farmland on the Isle of Man is deficient in iodine and copper and this can be a problem for livestock if they don’t get these trace elements from other sources. Kirree counters this by bolusing the Texel lambs with Tracesure at weaning in July, and the store lambs in August. Ewes are bolused pre-tupping.
“We find that supplementing the diet with the bolus is really beneficial pre-tupping as it helps with maintaining fertility and we have very few empties. It also helps with vigour in lambs at lambing time,” says Kirree.
The Aberdeen Angus replacement heifers in their first year are bolused with Tracesure Cattle with Copper. “It gives their coats an evenness throughout the year,” says Kirree.
She has an expert eye for livestock – she is not only in demand as a pedigree Limousin judge but as a Texel judge too.
The Kermodes had been using drenches before they were introduced to Tracesure ten years ago [stated in 2022]. “Drenching seemed to deliver a massive hit all at once. I wasn’t convinced it could all be absorbed. The bolus releases slowly so it’s consistent and constant,” says Kirree. An added bonus of Tracesure is that it is easy to give, she adds.