Sponsored by: Ranchers and Scotpen

Bryan and Liz Griffiths

Southcott farm, B.J. and D.E. Griffiths, Devon

FOR Bryan and Liz Griffiths, a detailed focus on flock health is key to achieving their aim of producing a regular and predictable supply of prime lambs from June to November.

To this end, the couple, who farm at Southcott Farm, Burrington, have developed a close relationship with their vet and are keen to participate in trial work and data collection for research purposes. They have been involved in trial work on anthelmintic resistance for several years and research on issues including contagious ovine digital dermatitis and midge resistance.

Each action they take is evaluated to ensure it is of benefit to the business. During last lambing season, they wanted to see the impact of not using antibiotics prophylactically. Instead, they improved hygiene in the lambing shed and focused attention on feeding colostrum. As a result, antibiotics were not needed during lambing and the exercise will be repeated.

Data collection has highlighted a problem with triclabendazole resistance on-farm, so the couple now considers their future use of flukicides.

Following trial work, they no longer trim feet, but treat lame ewes as soon as possible with an injectable and topical spray antibiotic to help reduce the risk to others.

Feeding is a critical part of the system and, while the couple admits use of creep might seem old-fashioned, for them it allows for a steady supply of lambs to sell deadweight. Lambs from the 300 Suffolk cross Mules lambed in February are offered ad-lib creep feed from four weeks of age with the aim of selling them all before weaning. Lambs from the 400 Mules lambed in March are given restricted access creep after weaning, depending on grass growth.

They are keen to point out they aim to carry out careful analysis of new concepts and are looking for meaningful innovation which will lead to progressive change, rather than just following fads and fashions.