Three-year plan that's aiming for a gross margin of €80/ewe
Clifford Richardson is a young farmer with ambitious plans for his home flocks
Published 09/03/2016 | 02:30
With sheep prices holding strong over the past year, many young farmers -and some more established ones- will be looking to focus on or include sheep in their farming mix.
The newest farmer to take part in SheepTech will be one to watch over the coming year for any sheep enterprise looking to increase ewe numbers, reduce labour costs, and improve margins,
It is just three years since Clifford Richardson (33) began farming on the family's farm near the town of Carrigallen on the Leitrim and Cavan border.
At the moment the farm is a hive of activitiy, as he has established a flock of 80 pedigree Lleyn ewes which began lambing in mid-February.
Many sheep farmers rate the Lleyn breed highly for their ease of care and prolificacy. This year the ewes scanned with a litter size of 1.97 with 94pc of the ewes in lamb.
Clifford, who is an active participant in a sheep discussion group, has also signed up to the Sheep Ireland flock performance recording system LambPlus.
All lambs are electronically tagged and weighed at birth and lambing data recorded. Lambs are then weighed at eight weeks of age and at weaning, which provides vital guidance on breeding for the following year. The top performing ram lambs are selected and sold for breeding.
Last year Clifford, who completed the Teagasc Certificate in farming in 2013, acquired 26ha extra land on a long term lease to add to the 14ha home farm and plans to increase ewe numbers over the next three years.