End of an era for these sheep pioneers

The Browne family winning four categories plus Supreme Champion and Reserve awards at the Tullamore Show in 2016.
The Browne family winning four categories plus Supreme Champion and Reserve awards at the Tullamore Show in 2016.

Martin Ryan

One of the original four founding flocks of Beltex Pedigree sheep breeding in Ireland is to be dispersed, to make way for a ‘farm to fork’ commercial sheep enterprise.

The Boherawillin flock has been built up over the past 22 years into one of the most successful pedigree Beltex flocks in the country.

The entire pedigree flock will go under the auctioneer’s hammer at GVM Mart, Tullamore at noon on Saturday, September 8.

The flock was established in 1996 by John and Breeda Browne who travelled to Belgium along with four other breeders and imported the first Belgian Beltex into Ireland.

From the original four ewes imported plus purchases from Northern Ireland breeders and from trips to Carlisle in the UK every couple of years the foundation stock were added to and developed.

The Kilbeggan-based flock remains family run to the core with John’s grandson Sean assuming responsibility for the main management and day to day activities under the watchful eye of John Snr of course.

In recent years the flock has been sweeping awards claiming the All Ireland Title five times, Reserve Champion twice, and winning all categories including Champion and Reserve Champion at the National Livestock Show at Tullamore.

“The show success in recent years is the result of the ground work done years before in selecting the right sheep to stay on top of the game and investing in new lines when needs be,” says Sean.

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“I believe as well as having very well bred rams, that the females are just as important and we have put a lot into selecting the ewes.

“I like a nice long bodied sheep with good confirmation but not extreme with a nice head and a good stand,” he added.

The dispersal of the flock is to make way for a farm to fork enterprise between the farm and the restaurant the family now run.

This has limited time available to manage the pedigree flock.

“Since we started using our own commercial lambs in the restaurant the feedback from customers has been very positive and we see good opportunities to develop the commercial flock for ‘farm to fork’ with plans to expand to using our own AA cross heifers by Christmas,” says Sean.

He said that the versatile Beltex are winning the majority of factory carcase competitions and the Beltex cross lambs are just right for their restaurant needs.

Adding celebration to the dispersal sale €1,000 in prizes is  up for grabs in giveaways on the day.

Indo Farming


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