Broken mouthed ewes on twitter

Those are indeed valid & important reasons, rather than buying from breeders who seemingly value head markings over anything much else.
For me, breeding a ewe that will produce without lots of feed input is quite high on the list too. A mule is the sheep equivalent of a Holstein cow ime, in high input systems they can work well enough, but put them in a low input system and their output is pitiful. Much like the Holstein, they will milk themselves to death if you don’t put the inputs in.

Much like in dairying, the most profitable systems are high input/high output and low input/moderate output. Those trapped in the middle, running a relatively high cost system, but with only moderate outputs, will always struggle.
A good pal of mine and fellow TFF member breeds his own Scotch Mules and he rarely feeds them concentrate at all and his output is pretty good for an upland/hill unit.

To me the BFL or Zwartbles are more like the Holstein of the sheep world.
The mule is like what you'd get crossing a Holstein with something like a Galloway
 
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neilo

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
Montgomeryshire
A good pal of mine and fellow TFF member breeds his own Scotch Mules and he rarely feeds them concentrate at all and his output is pretty good for an upland/hill unit.

To me the BFL or Zwartbles are more like the Holstein of the sheep world.
The mule is like what you'd get crossed a Holstein with something like a Galloway
Fair enough, some have obviously worked with very different mules to any of the various types that I have ever worked with.

I have always found them, and their descendants for a generation or two, to perform extremely well if the inputs (be that concs or quality forage) are high enough, but struggle as soon as inputs are reduced.
I also struggled to keep any to much of an age before teeth started going, and they had a propensity for big teats at lambing that newborn lambs couldn’t cope with alone (which I always assumed was down to bugger all selection for such functional matters).

If your mate has found mules that avoid all those drawbacks, then he’s on to a winner (apart from having control of selection/genetics/disease of course), but I have had enough bad experiences as to have been put off them almost as much as I have to Suffolk sheep.
 

andybk

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Mendips Somerset
I don't think they're fantastic shedders either. If somebody fancies importing some, sorting the feet issue and getting their coats right, then I promise I'll buy a tup!
i know someone that imported some from SA at great expense ,feet were v good (at least compared to uk stock and were imported for that reason ) , uk society refused to register them :banghead: so he threw in the towel
 

neilo

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
Montgomeryshire
i know someone that imported some from SA at great expense ,feet were v good (at least compared to uk stock and were imported for that reason ) , uk society refused to register them :banghead: so he threw in the towel
Did he not think to discuss it with them beforehand, if he was wanting to register them? :scratchhead:
 

ISCO

Member
Location
North East
For a lot of years we've always bought a small number of mules, perhaps 30 a year and crossed with NZ Texel to breed gimmer lambs. This is to reduce cost and disease risk.
Last year we bought 20 easycare gimmer lambs as well as mules. All 3 breeds ran together from September and reared similar amounts of lambs. Son asked me to have s look at them this week as he had split them into breeds. The Texelx looked ok , as if they'd reared lambs but would be fit to tup come November. Mules very disappointing, very lean bordering skinny and will require pushing to scan well whilst easycares by far the fittest.
Wintered on stubble turnips our own and easycare not seen cake . Mules would be on cake pre sale which I think spoils them if you want to be forage based. I find mules not as good as used to be and can only see us going down easycare/exlana route in future only buying tips to reduce disease risk.
U
 

Razor8

Member
Location
Ireland
Those are indeed valid & important reasons, rather than buying from breeders who seemingly value head markings over anything much else.
For me, breeding a ewe that will produce without lots of feed input is quite high on the list too. A mule is the sheep equivalent of a Holstein cow ime, in high input systems they can work well enough, but put them in a low input system and their output is pitiful. Much like the Holstein, they will milk themselves to death if you don’t put the inputs in.

Much like in dairying, the most profitable systems are high input/high output and low input/moderate output. Those trapped in the middle, running a relatively high cost system, but with only moderate outputs, will always struggle.
But their lambs are gone in early autumn and you’ve two less mouths to feed over the winter
 
For a lot of years we've always bought a small number of mules, perhaps 30 a year and crossed with NZ Texel to breed gimmer lambs. This is to reduce cost and disease risk.
Last year we bought 20 easycare gimmer lambs as well as mules. All 3 breeds ran together from September and reared similar amounts of lambs. Son asked me to have s look at them this week as he had split them into breeds. The Texelx looked ok , as if they'd reared lambs but would be fit to tup come November. Mules very disappointing, very lean bordering skinny and will require pushing to scan well whilst easycares by far the fittest.
Wintered on stubble turnips our own and easycare not seen cake . Mules would be on cake pre sale which I think spoils them if you want to be forage based. I find mules not as good as used to be and can only see us going down easycare/exlana route in future only buying tips to reduce disease risk.
U
But who raised the heaviest lambs?
 

neilo

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
Montgomeryshire
But their lambs are gone in early autumn and you’ve two less mouths to feed over the winter
I don’t understand your point.
I know of plenty of flocks, of all sorts of breeds, that still have lambs left in the winter, and plenty of the same breeds where everything is gone by the winter.

If you’re set up for a cheap wintering system, does it matter? I normally shut the gate on anything that’s left in December, winter them cheaply, then sell them at peak in April.
 

Al R

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
West Wales
But their lambs are gone in early autumn and you’ve two less mouths to feed over the winter
Autumn?
I don’t like having many left after July..
Even with 320 ewe lambs lambing this April I’ve only got 220 lambs left on farm after weaning 🤷‍♂️

I think people need to go more closed flocks if they want to continue with mules with good longevity. I buy in 50 glamorgan welsh Ewe lambs every other year From the same farm. I put my BFL rams on them to produce my own mules. The welsh ewes are superb and will do well on the rough parts of the farm..
 
Surely thats not relevant unless your ego likes seeing your name in the market report!
A better question would be " who's lambs left a greater margin per acre/ hectare ?"
If the ewes were all treat the same then the breed with the heaviest lambs will have a huge difference on profitability
 

bendigeidfran

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Cei newydd
Ewes don't have to have teeth to carry on being productive, used to keep welsh ewes with no front teeth, they would keep going for years.
I just looked at their body every Autumn,
Did send them on tack for a bit in winter.
 

neilo

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
Montgomeryshire
Ewes don't have to have teeth to carry on being productive, used to keep welsh ewes with no front teeth, they would keep going for years.
I just looked at their body every Autumn,
Did send them on tack for a bit in winter.
That sounds like it could be a useful marketing pitch for Innovis to use.👍

Brokers will do ok if they have plenty of grazing, or feed supplied, requiring a lower stocking rate or higher inputs. If grub runs a bit tighter, they are first to crash and burn.
 

neilo

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
Montgomeryshire
If the ewes were all treat the same then the breed with the heaviest lambs will have a huge difference on profitability
That would be true, as long as ‘treated the same’ includes stocking rate, ability to winter cheaply and have the longevity to reduce replacement costs.
If those heavier lambs come at a cost of running bigger ewes that can be stocked less heavily, or require feeding through the winter, then they will pull down output per ha.

There is a reason that all those ‘efficient’ breeds are generally around 60kg or so, here or in NZ.
 

Guiggs

Member
Location
Leicestershire
If the ewes were all treat the same then the breed with the heaviest lambs will have a huge difference on profitability
But as @ISCO said, the mules are lean/ skinny and will need supplementary feed to get them in condition for tupping.
Whether that's better grazing or hard feed it is still an additional cost that the easycare ant nz tex in his system don't require,so any extra £ from the extra kg the mules reared Has now been reduced? Negated ? By the extra input they now need!
 

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CHAP launches CropMonitor Pro a new digital service for predicting crop pest and disease risks

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CHAP launches CropMonitor Pro â a new digital service for predicting crop pest and disease risks

CHAP is delighted to announce the launch of a new digital service – Crop Monitor Pro. It is designed to help growers and agronomists predict the likelihood of pest and disease outbreaks on their farm.

CropMonitor Pro extends the DEFRA funded, long-standing regional risk evaluation service (Crop Monitor) which was first launched in 2003 by Fera Science Limited (Fera). CropMonitor Pro is a significant advancement on that service by providing field-level risk prediction for a range of pests and diseases affecting winter wheat, winter oilseed rape and...
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