Trace element bolus is key for Yorkshire livestock farm
Since switching to boluses six years ago, the Wilson family has seen marked improvements in their upland grazed sheep and cattle..
Crimple Head Farm in Beckwithshaw, near Harrogate, has been farmed by the Wilson family since the 1930s. Richard, now runs the farm alongside Grandfather Michael, Father David and Uncle Martin, as well as employee James.
They keep 900 Dalesbred ewes and 250 Texel-cross ewes on the 1100-acre upland farm, and Richard runs a MV pedigree Texel flock under the prefix of ‘Crimple Head’ focusing on breeding shearling rams and females for the commercial and pedigree markets. Two working trips to New Zealand led to the introduction of 50 New Zealand Romney shearlings last Autumn – Richard was impressed by the breed’s mothering ability and hardiness to lambing outdoors on minimal concentrate feeds.
The Wilson family were seeing little benefit from using a mineral drench on the ewes, so started using Animax’s Tracesure© boluses on their sheep and cattle six years ago. Tracesure© Sheep with Copper is given to all sheep apart from Texel’s who have the non-copper version.
Lambing is made possible with the help of four vet students. The pedigree Texels lamb first, at the beginning of March, followed by the Texel cross ewes, then the Dalesbred ewes in April. The Romney cross ewes will lamb outside from Mid-April.
“Giving a bolus is a vital part of our flock management. We use a trace element leaching bolus on all animals pre-tupping in September, and again pre-lambing when housing, alongside a 10-in-1 sheep vaccine to minimise handling time. The replacement females all have a bolus, as do the female hoggs which over winter on a neighbouring farm which seems to help with body condition while away.
“For us, it is mostly about peace of mind, knowing they are getting enough of the correct trace elements, which helps them to make the most of their feed and get the nutrients they need. The ewes are in a better condition all year round, particularly for reproducing with an increase in fertility – the lambs are born more vigorous in the harsher upland environment.”
The 900 Dalesbred ewes are also put to Teeswater and Bluefaced Leicester rams, which are well known for their hardiness and thriftiness. The crossbreeds come under various systems for breeding.
“We’ve found that the Masham lambs gain weight well and have good carcase confirmation. The best of the pure breeds from both Dalesbred and Texel are kept for breeding stock,” continues Richard