What we have asked our Ambassadors this April....

What was the highlight of lambing this year? (Or highlight so far?)

Kirree Kermode

Dry bright days were a big hit with us this lambing time, they seemed to be few and far between but when they did appear it enabled us to get sheep and lambs out to grass ,where they definitely seem to do better , it was a huge sense of relief, some days it looked like standing room only & the build up of bugs was on the horizon so a good day was definitely welcomed!

Kirree Kermode
Isle of Man

Joe Emmett

Seeing how well sheep can deal with bad weather, how tough they can be when it’s needed.

Joe Emmett
Norfolk

David McMullan

The highlights of this years lambing was lots of good even sized living lambs. My twinning % of ewes out at grass is higher than ever and we managed to keep lamb losses at a minimum even with very little antibiotic usage. Also most of the singles seemed to want to accept a triplet adoption which was a bonus!! Also it was my first lambing having a little 11/12 month old helper and not having a pregnant wife compared to last year certainly lightened the work load!

David McMullan
County Antrim

Richard Rossiter

That it is over, it's been a hard lambing with the weather. 

Richard Rossiter
Devon

Zoey Symington

We have just started lambing and the highlight so far is the quite good lambing weather, plenty of grass for a change and ewes are lambing fairly strong lambs. Hopefully I’ll still be saying this by the end of lambing!! 

Zoey Symington
Shetland

Lauren Bird

Despite being a tough season everyone’s been in the same boat and supported each other. Made some great new friends this year! 

Lauren Bird
Oxfordshire

Thomas Chapman

My highlight was how well my ewe lambs have lambed. We scanned at 127%  and they’ve all lambed easily and mothered up well. It’s great to see my next generation of sheep performing well.

Thomas Chapman
Staffordshire

Catherine Sanderson

That one day when the sun came out.

Catherine Sanderson
North Yorkshire

Sion Morgan

Lambing highlight so far is seeing the good mothering ability with the young ewes.

Sion Morgan
Scottish Borders

Bleddyn Davies

The one day of sunshine amid the constant rain and miserable weather! 

Bleddyn Davies
Ceredigion

How are you getting on with meeting the targets you’ve set yourself as an NSA Next Generation Ambassador?

Kirree Kermode

Targets have been very slow I enrolled to do a teaching course with CEVAS but it has now been postponed until autumn, so I’m in the process of finding another course a bit earlier in the year,  as I want to get going with open days through summer so that’s a bit annoying!!

Kirree Kermode
Isle of Man

Joe Emmett

Some progress, but when lambing and calving is finished that’s the time when my targets kick in and I will see if I hit them

Joe Emmett
Norfolk

David McMullan

To be quite honest I am nowhere near hitting any targets as it has been such a harsh spring rather than pushing on we are just having to be content with maintaining the status quo. Keeping going through the leaner times and trying to push on when things start to go your way will be the order of the day for 2018 I think.

David McMullan
County Antrim

Richard Rossiter

They are going well making progress with some of the long term ones. 

Richard Rossiter
Devon

Zoey Symington

I need to get onto my Next Gen targets after lambing when I get more time and see if I can meet them! I am going to Scotsheep this year which is my 1st time and really looking forward to it. It was one of my targets to support a NSA Sheep Event so I am hoping to achieve that! 

Zoey Symington
Shetland

Lauren Bird

Not too bad, getting there slowly. Trying to work towards getting my Charollais flock started and also attending an event in June. 

Lauren Bird
Oxfordshire

Thomas Chapman

So far I have stuck to my pledge of using social media more to promote the industry. There was some great feedback from the posts I had made for the Take the Lead campaign.

Thomas Chapman
Staffordshire

Catherine Sanderson

Not too bad - I said I'd like to aim for no more than 10 pet lambs and so far I only have 2! Fingers crossed I can get them mothered on...

Catherine Sanderson
North Yorkshire

Sion Morgan

Targets are hard to achieve as the weather has a big part to play but overall very happy.

Sion Morgan
Scottish Borders

Bleddyn Davies

Much slower than expected

Bleddyn Davies
Ceredigion

If you could give the general public one fact about sheep farming, what would it be and why?

Kirree Kermode

We don’t get a fortune for our wool like the Marks & Spencer’s £90 lambs wool jumpers seem to indicate, they seem to think we get most of that value, it’s amazing what the public read into.

Kirree Kermode
Isle of Man

David McMullan

We are in the business of keeping everything as healthy as possible for as long as possible. Welfare standards are incredibly high in the uk sheep industry and i just don’t think people realise how many hoops we jump through to produce a consistent and saleable product.

David McMullan
County Antrim

Richard Rossiter

Sheep help to create the open spaces and look after the countryside and keep it the way it looks today. Because they don’t realise the work that farmers do to look after moorland and hills. 

Richard Rossiter
Devon

Zoey Symington

One fact about sheep farming I would give to the public is it’s a lifestyle you choose. It has numerous plus points but you have to be ready for the minuses. It’s a very challenging career but very rewarding!!

Zoey Symington
Shetland

Lauren Bird

Tricky one- I’m not sure there’s one fact. I think probably just to realise how much work goes into producing meat and how often the odds are stacked against us. 

Lauren Bird
Oxfordshire

Thomas Chapman

That a massive 60% of the UK is only suitable to grow grass - some people think we can grow crops anywhere and everywhere!! 

Thomas Chapman
Staffordshire

Catherine Sanderson

It would be that wool is the most sustainable fibre and a great carbon store - so we should utilise this great resource more!

Catherine Sanderson
North Yorkshire

Sion Morgan

I would say to the public that sheep farming is s fantastic job and very rewarding, you get what you put in.

Sion Morgan
Scottish Borders

Bleddyn Davies

You can watch after ewes to the best possible standard but you never know whats going to happen at lambing time. 

Bleddyn Davies
Ceredigion

The tough spring conditions have caused high lambing losses and stunted grass growth for most places. If a genie offered you more grass growth, more live lambs on the ground or one other wish, which would you chose and why?

Kirree Kermode

More grass for sure. I love to see the stock full lying sleeping rather than up scavenging about , this year has definitely tested man & beast ! As The old saying goes ‘less is more’ ...but with the price of lamb this year I wouldn’t mind fields full of both hehe

Kirree Kermode
Isle of Man

Joe Emmett

More live lambs, as grass in Norfolk has had a good start this Spring.

Joe Emmett
Norfolk

David McMullan

I would wish for more grass growth. We are at a point where ewe numbers are at a premium for the acres we are running and it has left us an expensive spring with the extra feeding both of forage and concentrates to keep ewes at the correct body condition score.

David McMullan
County Antrim

Richard Rossiter

A 48 hour day to catch up on all the jobs that haven’t been able to be done in the spring. 

Richard Rossiter
Devon

Zoey Symington

Here in Shetland we are lambing later as most of the country which has worked in our favour this year as we have missed the worst of the weather. My wish would be a better scanning percentage for another year. This past winter has taking a toll on livestock being one of the toughest winter weather conditions I can remember. 

Zoey Symington
Shetland

Lauren Bird

More grass growth - no point having lambs if you haven’t got grass for ewes to milk off. 

Lauren Bird
Oxfordshire

Thomas Chapman

I would accept this years bad conditions and wish instead for a better year next year! 

Thomas Chapman
Staffordshire

Catherine Sanderson

I'd rather have more grass than more lambs because there's no point having more lambs if there's nowt for them to eat.

Catherine Sanderson
North Yorkshire

Sion Morgan

I’d ask the genie for some sun as that will help grass grow and help more live lambs on the ground.

Sion Morgan
Scottish Borders

Bleddyn Davies

Another wish! So that I could of been out in the Bahamas for the past 2 month! 

Bleddyn Davies
Ceredigion

If you were asked to step in at the last minute and compete at the Commonwealth Games, what would be your best discipline and why?

Joe Emmett

The decathlon - shepherds have to do most disciplines on a daily basis: run, jump, lift, go cross-country, and even swim and throw (your crook at the dog)!

Joe Emmett
Norfolk

David McMullan

Probably boxing. I already have a face that looks like it's taken a punch and reckon I could throw a good one or two before getting my head taken off. After all aren’t all the good boxers from Northern Ireland? Mcguigan and frampton etc. And to be honest I dont think I have the athleticism for much else. Maybe have a crack at the shooting but I think the clays would be safe if past experience is anything to go by haha

David McMullan
County Antrim

Richard Rossiter

A marathon runner. As always on the go with sheep work and general farming. 

Richard Rossiter
Devon

Zoey Symington

If I was asked to step in for the Commonwealth Games, I would play netball as I play for Shetland and love playing the sport! 

Zoey Symington
Shetland

Lauren Bird

Short distance sprint - get good at that when your catching lambs! 

Lauren Bird
Oxfordshire

Thomas Chapman

Hockey as its my favourite game to play - maybe its because the stick resembles a crook! 

Thomas Chapman
Staffordshire

Catherine Sanderson

I'd probably skip the athletic bit and help out in crowd control - it can't be any more difficult than trying to get through a mob of hungry ewes with a bag

Catherine Sanderson
North Yorkshire

Bleddyn Davies

Shot putt or javelin. Something that doesn’t involve too much running!  

Bleddyn Davies
Ceredigion