'There is always the risk you'll get a puck in the mouth, but not with this new breed'
Published 20/09/2011 | 05:00
A Wicklow sheep farmer believes he may have stumbled across a new breed that will be of serious interest to Irish farmers.
There's not much that ICSA man Mervyn Sunderland hasn't seen during his 55 years in sheep farming.
His extensive farming operation finishes more than 5,000 lambs a year and is in the course of assembling, finishing and breeding enough sheep to fulfil his contracts.
Mr Sunderland thought he'd seen it all, but in the past 12 months he has created and monitored an entirely new breed created from a new cross on his farm near Jack White's Pub.
"I bought two Blue Texel rams from Paddy Kent in Wexford and paired them with Scotch Ewes just to see what would happen," said the ICSA man.
"I had never heard of these two breeds being paired together so we decided to give it a go. We weren't sure how it would turn out but we were very pleased with what we saw with the lambs and rams."
The big plus with the new cross in Mervyn's opinion is that the temperament and intelligence of the lambs was far superior to anything he had seen before. This gave the lambs a potent mix of being easy to deal with, excellent conformation, sound feet and extra resilience.
"We finish about 100 lambs a week and I thought I had seen every type of cross and breed," he said.