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Thread: Why did suffolks go out of popularity?

  1. #31
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    Re: Why did suffolks go out of popularity?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tim W View Post
    Agree--a shepherd should be looking after 1000+ ewes

    Cottage =7000
    Wage =22000 (if not you are underpaid)
    Nat ins etc
    From recent conversations well over 22K is being asked for.

  2. #32
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    Re: Why did suffolks go out of popularity?

    Not many places I know give a free cottage. May have done years ago, but with the income a farm can get by renting out cottage wouldn't make economic sense to give it to a workman. Anyway its a false security for the worker, much better for him to buy a house and get a mortgage as soon as he can.To you Nielo, I think you may find that most successful employers get their staff fully involved and said staff will know the costs. What you mean second Quad and truck. Surely the truck is not the shepherds personal run-around, get his own bloody truck like everyone else has to. Why you want two Quads? Hey Nielo I come work for you yes?
    Tim W, take out the cottage I agree what you say but got to be a lot more than 1000 ewes, more like 1500 - 1800. Not having a dig at any-one, but the simple fact is the margins are too small in the sheep job. You can't expect a large wage, the money isn't in the game to pay it. By the way I am lucky enough to be a shepherd on a estate with a good employer. (saying that he'll probably sack me tomorrow). I am sorry to have to say it but a full time shepherd is a job that is permanently on the decline purely because of economics. I can't see the price of lamb increasing dramatically in the future but costs, land rental feed fuel etc are only going one way.
    Last edited by kelpiekid; 24-06-13 at 01:27 PM. Reason: add more

  3. #33
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    Re: Why did suffolks go out of popularity?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gee View Post
    From recent conversations well over 22K is being asked for.
    Agree & so it should be---last stock job I had paid 32k + house, started a lot lower and agreed a rate of increase over a number of years with goals set as conditions of pay rise

    KelpieKid ---I hear what you say and think that you are right with sheep numbers/shepherd.

    lamb prices shouldn't rise significantly because otherwise we will price ourselves out of the market, the industry as a whole has to learn to produce more at a lower COP then there will be a margin for employers and employees alike

  4. #34
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    Re: Why did suffolks go out of popularity?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tim W View Post
    Agree & so it should be---last stock job I had paid 32k + house, started a lot lower and agreed a rate of increase over a number of years with goals set as conditions of pay rise

    KelpieKid ---I hear what you say and think that you are right with sheep numbers/shepherd.

    lamb prices shouldn't rise significantly because otherwise we will price ourselves out of the market, the industry as a whole has to learn to produce more at a lower COP then there will be a margin for employers and employees alike
    We have all been on the more for less band wagon encouraged by sub for 50 plus years, its time we steped of and produced less for more which under sfp has been working.

  5. #35
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    Re: Why did suffolks go out of popularity?

    Quote Originally Posted by b slicker View Post
    The Suffolk has certainly lost out to the Texel (but definitely not to the Charollais), although it's significant that the Suffolk x Scotch Halbred ewe-lambs sold at St Boswells are probably the dearest ewe-lambs throughout the whole of the UK.

    they have down here !,though i have a pretty good idea why they dont in the Boarders, Charollais are usually the top sellers in both number and price for terminals in the south , right through the autumn sales , used to be rows and rows of suffolks , that were easy sellers , the main trade they have now is to cover mules or SHB on commercial estates ,then the ewe lambs or 2t are sold and in turn are covered by charollais .Its very difficult to find a good natural conformation suffolk , that hasnt been fed to within an inch of its life , to many 6in docks about ,The genetics of the Edinburgh show ponies reach very deep
    Agree with skoda though, charollais and texel will have problems down the line , still far to many judged and bought with too much help from the feed bucket .

  6. #36
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    Re: Why did suffolks go out of popularity?

    I know of a very well respected farmer who sacked his shepherd because he thought he could sit in the house just as well as his shepherd did.

    With high wage costs plus all the extras, there is no way that a Shepherd can be employed just to look after sheep. They need to do other jobs on the days on end when there is no sheep work to do - like mixing their own feed, putting their own fences up, and driving a tractor when need be.

    And of course they should be supplied with a bike, but the major difficulty is that they are meant to wear a helmet - a dangerous thing to do because they can't see round about the back wheels and they can't hear. Some years ago the H&SE gleefully reported that of the serious accidents on quads, something like 80% of riders weren't wearing a helmet. Ergo, it is much safer to wear a helmet. But they failed to realise that less than 10% of riders wear a helmet, so their figures showed that helmet wearers are twice as likely to have an accident.

    I drive thousands of kms over rough terrain, and the only time I contemplate wearing a helmet is when I drive through the coconut plantation if it's windy or when the coconuts are ripe.

  7. #37
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    Re: Why did suffolks go out of popularity?

    Quote Originally Posted by b slicker View Post
    I know of a very well respected farmer who sacked his shepherd because he thought he could sit in the house just as well as his shepherd did.

    With high wage costs plus all the extras, there is no way that a Shepherd can be employed just to look after sheep. They need to do other jobs on the days on end when there is no sheep work to do - like mixing their own feed, putting their own fences up, and driving a tractor when need be.

    And of course they should be supplied with a bike, but the major difficulty is that they are meant to wear a helmet - a dangerous thing to do because they can't see round about the back wheels and they can't hear. Some years ago the H&SE gleefully reported that of the serious accidents on quads, something like 80% of riders weren't wearing a helmet. Ergo, it is much safer to wear a helmet. But they failed to realise that less than 10% of riders wear a helmet, so their figures showed that helmet wearers are twice as likely to have an accident.

    I drive thousands of kms over rough terrain, and the only time I contemplate wearing a helmet is when I drive through the coconut plantation if it's windy or when the coconuts are ripe.
    Errr have you been on the Coconut Juice again??????

  8. #38
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    Re: Why did suffolks go out of popularity?

    The reasons for the decline in popularity of the traditional Suffolk have been described by many contributors already. The speed of that decline has been truly amazing with the Suffolk siring about 49% of the national lamb crop in 1990 and only 22% by 2003. During the same period the Texels increased from virtually 0% to 24% and I am sure these trends have continued over the last decade. What has actually happened will be discovered this autumn when Eblex publish the results of their latest survey.
    This rapid decline will be attributed by many readers to the leading breeders producing the wrong type of sheep under unsustainable management systems ( and I am sure that some will point the finger at me for once being part of that process.) However I would suggest that there is a wider lesson that other breed societies and the sheep industry in general should take on board. This lesson is that the "Pedigree" sector and the "Commercial" are all part of the same entity. For pedigree breeders to consider themselves as in some way different to or apart from their commercial clients is both foolish and short sighted.The commercial sector should be the driving force behind the industry because the pedigree breeders should be guided by the need to produce sheep that will make more money for their commercial clients rather than animals that are merely pleasing to the eye of the purists - that is if there is to be a viable sheep industry n the future.
    20 years ago Suffolk breeders never imagined that their breed would be anywhere else than number one. I guess that todays top dogs similarly assume the continued dominance of their own breeds, but such confidence is misplaced.
    Economics including inflation and the inevitable reduction in money from Europe will force sheep farmers to have a thorough examination of their individual sheep systems. Functional traits such as lambing ease - the ability to live and finish off grass - the need for minimal labour inputs and drugs - and high levels of survivability will all be attributes of critical importance whereas cosmetics will be merely something for the wealthy hobbyists!
    Our own road to Damascus conversion is proof that such a change is possible. It also shows that there is a very bright future for the Suffolk breed so long as the Suffolk breeders get back to basics and produce hassle free sheep that will increase the bottom line of their customers businesses. Our 230 new clients acquired over the last 6 years would back up my claims.

  9. #39
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    Re: Why did suffolks go out of popularity?

    The suffolks have an advantage as a terminal sire if the breeders can pull there fingers out... for one even though they are alot of bone... big head, neck, legs they still look good as an even group in a live pen, although crazy in this day and age, the buyers will reward you for this. The charollais can put out alot of variable looking sorts... the texel look near enough identical. I can watch a pen of suffolks go through leyburn and fetch a better price than a charollais and even match the texels!

    They are quick growing if bought from good breeder/signet recorded etc, not just the guy down the road who sells 10 a year, industry is moving on.

    They make a good cross ewe... neighbour up here has suffolk x texels and they do him well...he does feed part creep and sheep nuts but not sure if thats down to him having little grazing, or if they wouldn't milk without it? Do two terminal sires milk as well as a dedicated maternal?Another op needed. He has all the time in the world to lamb them and look after them though. The texel lamb of this cross is as good as any ive seen.

    My Suffolks are off this farm. Until they can reduce the size of there heads and legs (With the tups i struggle to get my fingers to touch when i grab a leg! and i have big hands) make them less daggy (bad year for dagginess/worms etc and the suffolks are terrible!) and less dopey as i forget how annoying it is lambing indoors, holding a suffolk lamb at the teat, wiping milk on its lips and generally getting a pain in my back, and the lamb just with that blank expression of ... what?...i dont know what it is you want me to do AAahhh!!

    My meatlinks have such fine legs i really fear braking a leg when handling them... just stop for a moment and pick them up straight. But they do have lambs which are variable in wool cover and bone structure... less so with the charollais but still more variable than the suffolk. I really need to start selling deadweight

  10. #40

    Re: Why did suffolks go out of popularity?

    Grew up with Suffolks and grew to hate them, from a position that they were the bees knees . Buying rams with the father in the eighties he always said see those floppy ear ones with the large bone, and massive heads... You don't want those their soft, hard lambed and give doppy lambs.

    A suffolk should be light enough boned with kind shoulders, well thats what I was told growing up anyway. Why have the fallen away, because the show ring floppy ear ones with large bone and massive heads have become the breed standard. Around here Suffolks have become a maternal sire, more out of tradition than reason as lamb producers have flocked to Charollais / Texel. But I have seen some traditional Suffolks turning up recently and would like to see the breed come back, they have a huge amount to offer as are a true dual purpose breed. As others here have said the Charollais need to be careful not to go the same route, but I think that the base of the breed is in France helps in that one....

  11. #41
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    Re: Why did suffolks go out of popularity?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cran View Post
    Grew up with Suffolks and grew to hate them, from a position that they were the bees knees . Buying rams with the father in the eighties he always said see those floppy ear ones with the large bone, and massive heads... You don't want those their soft, hard lambed and give doppy lambs.

    A suffolk should be light enough boned with kind shoulders, well thats what I was told growing up anyway. Why have the fallen away, because the show ring floppy ear ones with large bone and massive heads have become the breed standard. Around here Suffolks have become a maternal sire, more out of tradition than reason as lamb producers have flocked to Charollais / Texel. But I have seen some traditional Suffolks turning up recently and would like to see the breed come back, they have a huge amount to offer as are a true dual purpose breed. As others here have said the Charollais need to be careful not to go the same route, but I think that the base of the breed is in France helps in that one....
    Think Angus, Hereford, ......Ll have been to the wall and are now on the way back.
    Largely due to ignoring the main purpose for their existence.
    gee

  12. #42
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    Re: Why did suffolks go out of popularity?

    I can only tell you why we moved away from Suffolk's to texel

    1 texels were less hassle at lambing time,up quicker and less of them needed pulling
    2 texels fattened off grass better than the suffolks
    3 texels arses stayed cleaner ( my great uncle called suffolks worm breeding machines )
    4 while Suffolk's grew faster than the texels the better price per Kg almost made up for this
    5 the texel rams lived longer

    Disadvantage of changing to texel was that the lambs from welsh halfbreds could get quite woolly but we were changing to mules at the time and Charolais rams were bought to go on the remaining halfbreds.

    Unfortunately mules are not the sheep they were 20 years ago, so time for another change maybe (and not lleyns )

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