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The 2017 winner of the AHDB Beef & Lamb Better Returns Programme Improved Flock Award for Charollais sheep is the Kingsland flock owned by John Stott Jnr, at Crosscrake, Nr Kendal. This award is presented to the English Signet performance recorded flock that makes the greatest improvement in the breeding potential of the lamb crop during the previous year.

The AHDB Better Returns Programme aims to highlight the financial impact that improved breeding and better lamb selection strategies can have on commercial flock profitability.

This award seeks to reward those breeders that are using Estimated Breeding Values to enhance the perfor
mance of their flocks and assist them to promote their achievement. The impact of performance recorded stock is significant and is increasing every year because of the activities of progressive farmers.

John Stott Jnr has been at Crosscrake since 1947 and as well as their pedigree Charollais sheep, they have a small commercial crossbred flock for lamb production, 150 wintered ewe lambs, a Livery yard, a small suckle  herd, some pigs and goats –quite the selection!

John established his pedigree Charollais flock in 1989 and was originally introduced to them by a friend. He was attracted to them due to their growth rates and carcass qualities. He also liked how they are a good breed to use for crossbreeding for commercial lamb production and that they are relatively easy lambing.

John began recording his pedigree Charollais sheep around 2-3 years ago. Peter Woof, a neighbour of John’s, was enthusiastic about the opportunities that performance recording could bring to his flock of Texel sheep and John decided to try the programme with his flock. John mainly concentrates on carcase and growth rate traits mainly, he likes well-muscled rams especially around the gigot.

Kingsland Charollais’ main customers are commercial farmers, John usually sells at Bentham and Kendal Markets. He also sells sheep at the NSA Main Ram Sale in September, which he thoroughly enjoys and finds he has repeat buyers every year. His customers are interested in the performance figures and they do consider them when buying stock.

John enjoys showing his Charollais sheep, he takes them to the Great Yorkshire Show every July and he does very well at local shows. In 2016 he came 1st place with his ram lamb which then went on to become male champion at Westmoorland Show. He also does very well at Bentham and Cartmel County shows.

Looking to the future, John wants to keep improving his flock. He wants to breed an excellent lamb that will place highly in the show ring, especially at the Great Yorkshire and believes he can do so by concentrating on his performance figures. John believes he has won the award this year due to the use of a ram from Alan Kennedy’s Parkgate flock, Carnew Nijinsky who was in the top 1% of the breed in 2016. John was able to use him for a selection of his ewes for Artificial Insemination.

John feels ‘tremendous’ about winning the Improved Flock Award this year and says he is still in a state of disbelief but is delighted that all his hard work over the years has been worth it. This year’s lambs are in an excellent condition and he is thrilled with them all. This shows him how much of an improvement has been made from performance recording. John would like to thank Peter Woof for all his help and guidance which got him into recording.

EBVS for Carnew Nijinsky

The chart shows that Carnew Nijinsky has superior growth rates with excellent scan and 8 week weights that are considerably above average. This ram also has admirable maternal ability levels.

 

With an index of 419 in 2016 this placed him within the top 1% of the breed.