Building the perfect formula for Suffolk breeding success
Eamonn Duffy’s careful selection has earned him Flock of the Year double
Thousands of sheep farmers aspire to breed the perfect flock, but few achieve their goal like Suffolk breeder Eamonn Duffy.
Almost four decades of serious commitment have been put into building the ‘Kells’ flock of Suffolks over two generations, which started in 1980 with Eamonn’s father Edward, who bought 10 breeding ewes carefully selected from a top flock in Co Roscommon .
When hundreds of sheep breeders descend on the farm at Ethelstown, Kells, Co Meath this evening for the Suffolk Sheep Society open evening, which runs from 5pm to 8pm, they will have a lot to admire.
One of the highlights of the evening for Eamonn and his wife Anne Marie will be receiving the Jack McCulloch Memorial Trophy. Winning Flock of the Year is a great achievement for any breeder; retaining the award, as Eamonn has done, is truly exceptional, testimony to the consistency and standard of the Duffys’ 110-strong flock.
And this year they’ve even gone one better and been awarded Flock of the Year for Ireland and UK for flocks of more than 100 breeding ewes. In September, Eamonn, Anne Marie and their three-year-old son Tom will travel to Shrewsbury to receive the Brook Perpetual Challenge Cup. Noted sheep breeder Andrew Wilson, who judged both the Irish and UK entries, commended them for the quality and uniformity of their flock.
“I’m very impressed that there is no tail-end to the flock. Usually there are the very good ones and some not as good in flocks,” he said.
Eamonn is open about his formula: he decided to breed only the best with the best and had no hesitation about culling any that were not to the standard he aimed for.
“I always felt that was the only way to go,” says Eamonn. “I have stuck with selection of the best breeding stock that I could get, and aim to see improvement in the flock every year.