Set in the beautiful Gloucestershire countryside lies Mussel End Farm, home to Simon and Louise Middle and their award-winning Farm Shop & Butchery. A true mixed stock and crop farm in every sense the Middles run 500 Suffolk mules, 150 Stabiliser cattle alongside pigs & chickens. Grass, Maize and cereals are all grown on farm which are then all utilised to finish stock on farm which all get put back through the butchery and shop.
A trip to the carcass hall at the Three Counties Show in June 2022 was where Simon had his first introduction to the Dutch Spotted. “It was one of the best carcasses I have ever seen, width and fullness of the eye muscle with an excellent proportion of fat.” comments Simon.
Wanting to explore further Simon got in touch with local Dutch Spotted Sheep breeders Jonathan and Janet Corbett of Wedderburn Dutch Spotted Sheep. It was here a decision was made to purchase three rams to cover 150 Suffolk Mule Shearlings lambing in spring 2023, with their balanced head size and bone structure it was felt the Dutch Spotted would be perfect for easy lambing allowing to get lambs up and thriving away.
Farming always has its challenges and none more so than this year “We had a really cold Spring here at Mussel End, and it was a concern if it was going to knock the lambs in those early stages but I have to say out of all the terminal sires I use the Dutch Spotted lambs were by far and away the most hardy, I was really impressed they just went from strength to strength”.
Lambs have continued to grow very well over the summer months typically being processed at an average of 45 Kg liveweight and killing out at U 3`s. All lamb is sold through the award winning and very popular on farm butchery and Shop with some going into local restaurants on a seasonal basis. “We have been very pleased with the performance of the lambs and not only that the tups too, they have been excellent, great on their feet and very mobile they have carried body condition right through the year, they have more than matched the status quo of continental breeds and we are looking forward to seeing what they can do in the forthcoming year” says Simon.
DUTCH SPOTTED ARTICLE – MUSSEL END FARM – SIMON & LOUISE MIDDLE DA 22/8/2023