Alwyn Phillips

Sponsored by

Alwyn Phillips runs two flocks – 200 Texels and 200 Poll Dorsets, which are self-replacing and performance recorded. His philosophy is that sheep naturally eat grass rather than concentrates and his aim is to produce rams
which have been reared on grass and sell direct from the farm to commercial producers, with up to 60 rams sold each year.

The Poll Dorsets go off farm in early October onto winter keep, returning the first week in December for ready to start lambing indoors from January 1.

They are turned out onto grass and then onto fodder beet in February when lambing is over and the lambs are four weeks old. The Poll Dorset lambs are creep-fed to finish quickly to capitalise on the early price per kilo.

The Texels are grazed throughout the winter and start lambing late March, when they are housed according to raddle marks which are changed every 10 days.

Alwyn has been involved in a number of industry research projects over the years including RamCompare. In 2018, one of his rams came first for overall carcase merit, in 2019 another came second and, in 2020, there were two in the top 10 with one of them having the highest EBVs for days to slaughter.

Muscle line

Since 1996, he has been sending 18-20 of the best ram lambs for CT scanning and the best two are then used in the flock. Over the years he has sent more lambs for CT scanning than any other breeder and now has the highest muscle line in the breed. Alwyn says his rams cannot compete on growth against other performance recorded flocks which are on continuous creep feeding but they still have the highest carcase EBVs in the breed.

This has made him focus on improving grassland production which he believes starts with healthy soil. He has also been cell grazing since 2015 aiming to graze 1ha cells for no more than two or three days.

Alwyn has also been part of the GrassCheck GB project since 2019 which involves him continuing to take weekly grass measurements and fortnightly samples for grass quality and mineral analysis.