QUALITY FROM START TO FINISH IN PRIME LAMB PRODUCTION
We saw our first Dutch Spotted sheep at the Royal Welsh Show in 2017 and were so impressed with them we bought two, a shearling ewe and a ram lamb. A few more were purchased in 2017 and the Williams flock was started.
Over the past three years, as well as breeding pedigree sheep, we have been using Dutch Spotted rams on Blue Texel x Zwartbles ewes to upgrade females and also on Suffolk x mule ewes to see how the lambs perform as commercial sheep. All ewes lambed easily with only assistances for abnormal presentation.
I am Managing Director of H G Blake's abattoir near Norwich processing 800-1000 lambs per week for mainly supplying to butchers shops in East Anglia. These lambs are all sourced from local farmers who we have long standing relationships with, advising on breeding and feeding to produce consistent top quality lambs, weighing 20 - 25kg and target grades of 'R' or better and mainly 2/3L/3H fat cover.
We have Dutch Spotted rams being used in two large commercial flocks this Autumn, where the lambs will be identified and assessed throughout the whole process. One of these producers, Mr Alan Peck, who finishes in excess of 5000 lambs per year for the abattoir, off grass, turnips and other forage crops, purchased a Dutch Spotted ram lamb in 2019 and used him on an assortment of commercial sheep, including ewe lambs. He had excellent results with very easy lambing and fast growing, resulting in easy finishing lambs, that will be fit for slaughter in the next few weeks. Alan is keen to purchase more rams to use this year.
I also own two butchers shops in Norfolk; Clarkes' Farm Shop, just north of Norwich and Impsons in Swaffam and between them they use 10 - 12 lambs per week. The cross bred lambs have been sold through the shops, to assess carcase yield and eating quality. The Dutch Spotted x Blue Texel/Zwartbles ewes have produced excellent lambs. These have gone from 1st cross lambs, being mostly black in colour to 3rd cross looking like really smart Dutch Spotted. Wether lambs killed at mostly E3L grades averaging 22.5kg carcase weight, off grass only. Dutch Spotted x Suffolk mules on the same system didn't have quite the conformation classifying mainly U3L and averaged 22.8kg. All lamb carcases yielded very well. Good long carcases with plenty of length in the loin with a large eye muscle. Eating quality is superb, with a lovely soft texture to the meat, very tender and full of flavour.
ANDREW & HAYLEY CLARKE, WILLIAMS FLOCK DSSS