William and Libby Mc Allister are the driving forces behind their 100 plus elite Beltex, Charollais and Texel ewes. They farm near Kells in Co Antrim. The three flocks are all registered under the Artnagullion prefix.
Extensive flushing of their pedigree females has led to the production of elite quality embryos on an annual basis, which are implanted in commercial cross-bred ewes. Show success at the likes of Balmoral Show has been complemented with equally impressive sale results at venues across the UK.
In addition to the breeding of top quality pedigree stock the McAllisters are also widely recognised for their breeding of elite, cross bred rams, which are used as terminal sires within lowland flocks throughout the British Isles.
“The cross bred rams are produced by mating purebred Charollais or Texel ewes with Beltex rams,” Libby explained.
“We normally have 40 to 50 cross bred shearlings to sell each year. There is a tremendous demand for this type of ram in Scotland.
“Breeders know that they will be able to produce high quality, meat-producing lambs. The hybrid vigour associated with the rams will also boost fertility.”
Significantly, every lamb born on the farm receives a dose of Provita Lamb Colostrum within 15 minutes of birth.
“This helps them get up and get going themselves,” Libby explained.
“In particular it gives new born lambs the get-up-and-go to get a suck from their mothers.”
“We have been doing this for the last 12 years. The colostrum powder is easy to mix and is very easy to administer especially in the middle of the night.
“It also gives the newborns that bit of extra energy and a real feeling of warmth that will encourage them to suckle their mothers
“I wouldn’t go to bed without ensuring that all the lambs get a suck of the Provita colostrum. We firmly believe that the use of the lamb colostrum, when combined with excellent hygiene and careful management, is critical to a successful lambing season. Since adopting this practice we have had no bother with problems such as watery mouth or scours.”
Provita’s Tommy Armstrong was a recent visitor to the McAllister farm.
“Provita Lamb Colostrum has a rich consistency and is easy to mix, which is especially important during the night. In light of this the McAllister family consider the cost as being inexpensive as it is saving the lives of numerous lambs.
“The current strength of the commercial market makes it all the more important for flockowners to keep as many lambs as possible alive.”
Libby also pointed out that the family had tried other colostrums in the past, but they hadn’t work as well.
“The additional benefit of using Provita Lamb Colostrum over natural feeding is that we know the lambs have received a full colostrum feed quickly. In short, it gives us total piece of mind,” she concluded.