Llanwenogs in the South West 2016
2016 has been an encouraging year for Llanwenogs in the South West with new flocks established and existing ones expanding. Following a recent move to Devon, the Vasanthkumar family have started a new flock with the purchase of 20 ewes from the Blackhall flock (No. 380) & a ram from Richard Edwards’ Glanrhyd flock (No. 285). These are kept on their land at Bratton Clovelly & they plan to use Llanwenog meat for their business producing authentic South Indian food which they sell at markets & festivals around the South West. Further details and pictures can be seen on their website www.kumarsdosabar.com & Facebook page. Mr. & Mrs. Stacey from Houndtor near Ashburton, who purchased 5 ewe lambs at York in 2015 , have now tupped them with a triplet ram lamb from the Blackhall flock (No. 380). Agatha Jones has taken advantage of her gap year to expand her Neadon flock (No. 448) & is also participating in a YFC project in which she has been given 4 Suffolk X Mule ewes. She will be lambing these & subsequently showing them at a show & sale. It will be interesting to see how they compare with purebred Llanwenogs!
At Bridgwater College, sheep numbers are set to increase to make better use of the grassland & Llanwenogs as a native breed will be part of this. All Llanwenogs have been mated to a purebred ram from the Glwydwern flock of Mr. & Mrs E. Morgans (No. 152). The same ram has subsequently been run with 70 ewe lambs which will provide a useful comparison of pure & crossbred lambs. The Society continues to support student projects with the award of the Trevor Kelland Memorial Bursary. In his 2016 project report Ben Roberts concluded that Llanwenogs are easy care sheep, cheap to keep & lamb easily with good lamb vigour. All the evidence continues to support our contention that Llanwenogs compete well with other breeds & crosses. During 2017 Megan Herriot will be comparing Llanwenogs with Mules particularly with respect to lamb losses & health issues that may be connected with this. The Society show stand will again be at Lambing Funday on March 19th 2017, which is an excellent opportunity to showcase the breed to the general public.
Llanwenogs have again been in evidence on the show circuit during 2016. At the Okehampton Show Beltex X Llanwenog lambs were 1st & 3 rd in the under 38kg prime lamb class & also overall champion in that section. Ella Jones has again competed in young handlers with her ewe from the Blackhall flock (No. 380) gaining 1st in class & overall reserve champion at the Chulmleigh Sheep Fair. She also competed at Okehampton & Chagford shows.
At the RBST Show & Sale at Sedgemoor Market in September a yearling Llanwenog ewe was 1st prize ewe, female champion & overall reserve Champion in the Hill & Heath classes. The judge, Mr. Alan Lyons commented “I don’t see Llanwenogs very often, but it’s nice when a good one comes along”. A pen of 5 yearlings went onto sell for 90gns. to Mr. & Mrs. Loader of Illminster. Regional sales such as this certainly offer potential to develop future sales of our breed. Maurice Greenslade, owner of the Langley flock (No. 338) & chairman of the Llanwenog Sheep Breeders Support Group, has been busy judging during 2016. At the Three Counties Show at Malvern he presided over increased entries of good quality sheep in the Llanwenog classes. Later in the year he judged the ewe classes at the Annual Show & Sale at Llanybydder & went on to judge the Society Flock Competition in which he placed the Blackhall flock (No. 380) 2nd in the large flock class & 3rd in the ewe lamb class.
For pedigree breeding to be successful, it must be linked to commercial viability & profitability. There is plenty of evidence that when Llanwenogs are crossed to terminal sires, the ensuing lambs readily meet the specifications required by supermarkets, export markets & niche markets. Maurice Greenslade, who has a flock of 300 Llanwenogs at Wiveliscombe, achieves good results using Texel & Charolais rams. Well in excess of 50% of lambs achieve premium grades at the abattoir with bonuses to match. Although on a smaller scale, Mrs. Machin of the Manna Park flock (No. 327) is very pleased with her Charolais cross Llanwenog lambs, with which she has few problems. Equally Beltex rams produce good results crossed to Llanwenogs as the grading results shown below demonstrate. The respective average weights of 18kg & 18.19kg for the two batches are right in the range required by deadweight buyers.
The breed will have a stand at Sheep South West on 20th June 2017 being held at the farm of David & Janet Disney, Ayshford, Westleigh, Tiverton close to the M5. This will be an excellent opportunity to find out more about the breed.