Scanning 2024

Scanning 2024

Following some pretty awful Autumn weather and the fact that we had new imported rams coming straight off a flight from NZ and in with ewes out of season, it’s fair to say we had been a bit apprehensive about scanning. But we needn’t have worried, the rams did their job and the ewes have held their condition really well and predominantly tupped on permanent pasture with an average of 1.84% over 2,549 ewes. This is circa 5% higher than our average and would have been even higher, had it not been for the 2 groups of sheep at Cissbury Hill, which had 4 dog attacks in 2 weeks over Christmas, killing and injuring a number of ewes, with subsequent abortions, which led to over half our empties coming from these two groups.  However, with this said we really can’t grumble at the results and look forward to ewe lamb scanning in the coming weeks.

Locks Farm January Newsletter 2024

Locks Farm January Newsletter 2024

Let me start by wishing you a very happy healthy and prosperous New Year! 

A quick recap of 2023

We started the year with a very good scan result for us. 188% over 4.500 ewes, a good 10 points above our target.

It would not be an understatement to describe 2023 as a “wet” year which at times proved challenging. High February and March rainfall meant that lambing at Locks was a totally quad bike affair, nothing else would travel in the lower fields. Rain seemed to fall on most days, and a large proportion of lambs would have been 10 days old before they had a dry back.

10 May 2023

This photo of our marquee at the NSA southwest sheep, on the Derrymans Farm at Yarcombe Devon, shows that the whole country was having problems. It is a great testament to the Derryman Family that they produced such a great show, under such difficult circumstances.

July / August 2023

At weaning we cull any ewes that have had a cull tag inserted during the season. i.e. help needed at lambing, unacceptable mothering ability, foot problems, prolapse, fly strike etc.

August/ September

Ram sales start. September saw us export 2 full lorry loads of breeding stock, 550 females and 40 rams to existing and new clients in France.

September Ram Lambs

Post weaning sees us starting to go through the 800 plus, 2023 spring born ram lambs from the recorded flock. These are managed through the next nine months in large mobs (300 plus) on average grazing with no concentrates, so that we can put them under real selection pressure. 

The basis of our ram breeding policy is that we start with lots of high-performance recorded ewes (1000 plus) you mate these to the best performance recorded rams, to produce the best performance recorded offspring. You subject these top performance animals to stringent mob selection under very commercial conditions so that you only offer the very best.

i.e. Breed lots

      Cull lots      Only sell the very best 


This time of year, sees us going through all our SIL performance breeding records of the 2 tooth  (shearling) ewes to see how they compare with the up to date post weaning figures of the recorded flock. With performance figures rising year on year, the bar to stay in, or to get in, the recorded flock gets higher each year. The net result of this being 25-30% of the recorded flock is replaced each year.

1st week in November

All rams in with the ewes, which followed by what seemed like 3 weeks of continual rain!

Didn’t seem to bother the rams!

December and January 2024

This time of year sees us at Locks Farm, busy electric fencing to keep the sheep flocks moving forward, doing feed budgets, which at times go well off plan when paddocks get wet under foot. Trying to allocate the best grazing to the most deserving mobs (in lamb ewe lambs), feeding cows and counting silage bales. Much the same I am sure as many of you are doing.

2023 saw ram sales continue to climb. I am always blown away by the clients who come to buy our stock. We are very lucky to be in an industry which seems to have more than its fair share of nice people who are a pleasure to do business with. On the breeding side, since we became independent, we have embarked on a major investment in top NZ genetics.

New Genetics for Locks Farm

2020 saw us import 12 animals, a mix of Wairere, Ngaputahi (Forbes Cameron) and Aoghaire  (R & L McCaughan)  genetics, and in 2023 we built on this with an additional import of 6 NZ rams. All these rams have been chosen for their very high SIL maternal scores, in fact, the highest we have ever been able to import.

 The 2023 consignment is made up of 2 pure New Zealand Texels. One from Cromarty Texels (BG & H J Busby) and the other one from Waikaka Texels (The Paterson Family) These rams will complement the Romtex rams imported from Wairere NZ in 2020 and further push forward our Romtex breeding line. Two high FEC score, pure Romney rams from Pahiwi (Tennent Farming Ltd) which will again compliment the 2020 imports that included rams from Forbes Cameron, one of the leading breeders specialising in FEC in New Zealand.

Two pure Romney rams from Turanganui (Michael Warren). Turanganui is probably one of the most respected Romney breeders in New Zealand.

The genetic gain graphs continue to rise, this reflects the major imports of top animals during recent years. In November 2023, 1071 performance recorded ewes were single sire mated, in addition to 2500 mob mated pure commercial NZ Romney ewes.

Scanning is just around the corner, our 60–90-day window closes on 1st February.  

Things are looking very exciting, and we cannot wait for the 2024 lamb crop!

Best wishes,

Chris, Caroline and Andy

Cromarty Texels are on Facebook

Annual Locks Farm Ram Sale

Annual Locks Farm Ram Sale

As usual, after the main annual Locks Farm Rale Sale date, Rams will be available from our Scotland and Wales Ram sellers; Jim Logan, Scotland & Phil Preece, Wales. For all the info please see the details in the flyer.

Ed & Rhian Bray

Ed & Rhian Bray

I’m fortunate with my work through the year I visit farmers on a daily basis and in both hemispheres.
Every country I visit has its own unique  challenges, as farmers we embrace and adapt to never ending changes.
I get to visit a number of our clients who have embraced such change but occasionally you meet one that stands out.

Ed & Rhian Bray from Lincolnshire are just that, Ed from a small family farm (his father still farms the family farm) & Rhianna who had no connection to farming, decided there pathway to farming was through sheep & rented land.

Ed started farming a few years about 2010 which was when he purchased his first Romney Tups from Locksfarm.
He secured what ever grazing he could get & learnt to shear aswell going out shearing in addition to shearing his own sheep to supplement income.

As more land became available they have purchased & retained as many ewe lambs as needed, today the flock totals 1500 ewes & 400 ewe lambs to join in 2023.

Over this time they have purchased & rent out 2 houses over & above the original family homestead which they rent off their family.

It’s great to see that sheer hard work & determination makes it still possible to succeed in farming even if you’re starting from scratch.

It’s so important that family farming & the role it plays in food production is congratulated & encouraged, it remains the lifeblood of our rural communities.

Ed & Rhianna & there 3 children are a great team & the Hodgkins family feel fortunate to be the genetics providers to this growing family business.

Rory & Mel Stirling

Rory & Mel Stirling

Mel Stirling along with his nephew Rory run 1100 Romney Ewes & 200 suckler cows just north of Galashiels. The farm ranges from steep hill to rolling downs up on the tops.

The flock consistently weans over 150% of lambs to ewes mated. All ewes are lambed outside & male & cull ewe lambs finished & sold over the hooks at an average weight of 19.5 kgs.

Mel & Rory enjoy the Romney’s for the easy fleshing post weaning setting them up for consistently high scans.
Mel & Rory annually sell surplus Shearlings (350 available in July 2023), these shearlings have an extremely good reputation for shifting on & have helped transition a number of our clients into Romney’s within Scotland.

References are available on request or any enquires can be fielded to Pierre our Sales Manager.

What’s in a name?

What’s in a name?

You may have noticed that we have adopted a new name for the sheep breeding side
of our business.

‘Locks’ was chosen because it has been our home farm since 1982, a name that everybody knows,
and the operating base for our ram selling. Our email address remains the same.

The reason for the change is to reflect the developing business model. For those of you who may not
be aware, in 2020 we decided that after 13 years of using exclusively Wairere NZ genetics, we felt
that we needed to become independent and to take advantage of the opportunity to dovetail top
genetics from different top NZ flocks that complement and enhance traits we would like to fast track
within our flock. An example being the 2020 import from NZ, which in addition to the Wairere NZ
rams also contained 2 of the best rams on SIL for FEC. By using these rams, we are speeding up our
already well-established worm resistant breeding programme, whilst not undermining the excellent
Wairere based core structure of the flock. Not being exclusively Wairere has give us the ability to
cherry pick top NZ breeders best blood lines.

The name change also encompasses the fact that our youngest son Andy, Laura and family have
come back to the home farm (Locks) to take over the day-to-day management allowing Caroline and
I to have an easier time now that I am in my seventies.

This does not mean that you cannot contact me as we will still be very involved.

Everything else remains the same, our ram sale will be in August, Pierre will be coordinating ram
sales. He will be happy to visit you on your farm to discuss your requirements (he has a vast
knowledge of southern hemisphere farming).

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