High welfare lamb project is recognised by leading charity

There’s an old saying in sheep farming that the sheep should keep the farmer rather than the farmer keeping the sheep. It may seem an odd thing to say, but it’s a reference to the profitability of sheep farming and the need for any business to be profitable rather than a loss making exercise.

Thankfully, due to reduced global production and increasing demand, most British sheep farmers are making better profits now than they have done in recent years and that’s good news for Asda as it means there should be plenty of British lamb to fill our shelves.

But, there’s another interpretation to the old saying to and that refers to the amount of time and money a sheep farming spends looking after his sheep. After all, if a farmer can reduce their costs they can be more profitable and have more time to spend with their family or managing another part of their business.

Here at Asda we’re keen on our farmers being profitable and enjoying what they do. And, we’re also very keen on welfare friendly farming. So, when we started looking at the Easy Care breed of sheep developed by Iolo Owen on Anglesey, we felt they could be the answer to a lot of problems.

The Easy Care breed has been developed to require minimal shepherding and to be highly productive. They shed their wool, so don’t need shearing and give birth easily, meaning farmers don’t have to intervene so often.

To check out the breed we’ve been running a trial flock at Barony Agricultural College, Dumfries. So far the results look very promising. In 2011 the small flock of 60 ewes reared a total of 113 lambs and from a total of 116 expected, showing the excellent mothering and rearing abilities of the breed.

The flock looks set to expand in the coming years as we do more work to help the Easy Care breed show its true potential for British farmers.

And, pleasingly the work Asda have been doing with the Barony flock and with the Easy Care breed in general has been recognised by Compassion In World Farming which has written about it on its website. You read the case study they’ve prepared here.

So, when it comes to lamb you can rest assured that Asda is committed to ensuring you can buy top quality, welfare friendly lamb from your local store. And we hope all our farmers are making good profits from sheep farming too, that way they’ll stay in business and you’ll be able to buy more lamb from them in the future.

Posted by Pearce on 14 February 2012
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