Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Armoured Sheep

I visited a farm in Washington near Brighton to the South of London. As Nuffield Scholars we have been chosen due to our conviction in challenging current models and perceptions, this has the ability to create revolutions in our subsequent industries. Here at the Washington farms I was not disappointed. Having previously worked in the automotive industry as a highly sought after and specialised clutch engineer, the Scholar was now throwing all his energy (without a clutch) at the outdoor sheep lambing industry. He and he's famiy started imported New Zealand Romneys in 2008, which provided their base flock with a more robust, fertile and adaptable hybrid. Their production is similar to the Denny Land and Cattle Co of Back Bay Boston, with heavily sloped and awkward blocks sprawled everywhere which has provided them a real niche in terms of rent levels (very clever in profitability and cash flow terms). In affect they have chosen the most suitable sheep for their environment and it is compelling that their genetics and system will spread through Europe, how long it will take I’m not sure due to the lagging effect in innovative Agriculture.

Because they have replaced lambing inside to out, they have also replaced the intensity of indoor monitoring with outdoor gate opening due to the Human factor associated with being close to a large town (hence this is a place it is not advisable to call ‘shotgun’). It was a true Honour to spend time with this Scholar as he brings a very fresh approach to UK sheep modelling even though he made me wear an English Rugby Jersy whilst touring the Farm. The breeding and selection systems were rigorous and reflected a mercenary style discipline which was comprehensive. Rob is very capable and a true gentleman and is the type fellow you would want fighting beside you in the front line in any battle. I hope he’s Assault on the European sheep industry commands the reception it warrants.

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