Dupath farm has been in the Coombe family since 1948. Adrian and Lyn are the 4th generation, with father, Peter, in semi- retirement.
The farm extends to some 154 ha (380 acres), with predominantly free draining medium loam soils. At 152 m (500 ft) above sea level the average rainfall is around 1,524 mm (60 inches).
It is a mixed farm with 27 ha of Barley and 3 ha of potatoes, 180 dairy bred beef cattle (1 – 28 months old) and a flying flock of 380 North Country mules with 120 ewe lambs, all sourced from a single farm near Skipton. The farm has a mixture of permanent pasture and improved leys.
Charollais rams have predominantly been used for the last 20 years, with the recent addition of two Abermax rams two years ago. Sheep are flushed with whole barley, and are fed a whole barley, soya and mineral mix pre-lambing depending on litter size. The sheep are fed clamp silage at housing in mid-February (or earlier if ground conditions are poor).
Lambs are born indoors mainly in March, with the ewe lambs following in April. They are all tagged at birth, and once weaned they are weighed regularly with weights recorded. Rotational grazing is used for the whole flock where possible, weaned lambs utilise silage aftermaths. All the lambs are finished off grass and sold deadweight.
Two years ago they moved from a hybrid ‘out by day, in by night’ lambing system to an indoor lambing with the addition of a new lambing shed to reduce labour requirements.
During 2007 – 2013 they were a “Healthy Livestock Project” Sheep Focus Farm, this encouraged their sheep enterprise into a properly managed business rather than a grass management tool.
“We have performance recorded Rams on the farm, and feel we could utilise EBVs more when selecting sires for our flock,” stated Adrian.
“We are excited to be part of RamCompare, the outcome of this project will help sheep farmers make more informed decision when purchasing rams. The ability to directly compare the different sire’s offspring across the breeds in a commercial setting will give the industry real working data.”
“Having worked closely with our vets during and after the healthy livestock project on improving our sheep’s health status, we see this as the next step in increasing our knowledge and productivity along with giving something back to the industry.”
“We are honoured to be representing the South West, particularly Cornwall, in this project along with all the North Country Mule sheep farmers” he concluded.