Coronavirus – Buying shearlings

As we approach the sheep breeding buying season, the question today is how in practice can this be achieved safely.

There are a growing number of globally recognised scientists that believe that it will be 4 – 5 years before the problem is eradicated. Until a vaccine or a simple and effective way of testing arrives, which won’t be this year, the most effective way of maintaining social distancing during this year will be buying directly from the farm. Farming to succeed will need to become more cognisant of E Commerce. This is the “new world”.

Culland has had a detailed website for years, and it has been most encouraging the number of buyers who have read it before making contact.

This year I will shortly set out both the detailed break down of EBVs for shearling rams, as in the past. From this year a similar EBV analysis of the gimmers will be available. Individual animal EBVs will be available on request, but I will put on the website the numbers of gimmers per Index quartile. We will also show the full breakdown of the EBVs of the stock rams used that year. Buying any breeding stock involves making key investment decisions and require us to use all the information on these animals that we can get hold of, in addition to just making subjective visual analysis.

EBVs are only one component of the buyer’s due diligence. Another is animal health status not only of the animals being purchased but across the whole flock. We are obviously an MV Approved Flock. Although we do not scan for other Iceberg diseases, we do blood test any barren ewes. Over the years nothing has been found.

Society approved rams. We await advise from the Society, but it looks as though it will be at best, later than normal. It may be that the Society provide a check list that the seller AND buyer have tick and sign off on.

If you are a potential buyer, let’s have an initial talk, and then come and have a good walk around the whole flock if that would be useful, or just look at all the shearlings in the yard. I will certainly keep my distance!