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Sheep breeder celebrates wins
12:15pm Tuesday 31st July 2012 in Farming
A NORTH Yorkshire pedigree sheep breeder is celebrating after pulling off a major coup at the Royal Highland Show.
Stuart Goldie not only won the supreme sheep and female championship titles with a three-shear home-bred Bleu du Maine ewe, but took the interbreed pairs title with the same ewe and his male champion shearling tup.
Mr Goldie, of Ferrymans House, Maunby, near Thirsk, said: “You dream of winning a major title but to win the supreme title at the Royal Highland was unbelievable.
“We are not a big society.
There are only about 100 active members, and we were up against 24 other breeds.
“Winning the pairs interbreed on the last day was just the icing on the cake.
The breed has never achieved that at the Highland. The judge said they were a fantastic wellmatched pair exhibiting quality and really good fleshing.
“For a minority breed to win the interbreed was a massive achievement and a lot of people said it was nice to see us win.”
He continued his winning ways at the Great Yorkshire Show, taking the supreme Bleu du Maine title with the same ewe and the reserve breed title and male championship with the same shearling ram, which then went on to be crowned male lowland champion.
Mr Goldie bred the ewe which was sired by the ram Haydon Chester which, he said, had done a good job on the flock.
He bought the shearling ram at Carlisle last year from Somerset breeder Simon Norman.
Mr Goldie, who is president of the Bleu du Maine Society, established the Maunby flock with his late wife, Julia, 24 years ago.
He said: “We had two young children at the time so Julia was looking after the kids and the sheep at the same time.”
The breed had only been in the country for about 18 months to two years and he was quickly sold on them.
He said: “We stayed with them because in the first place, they produce lean meat while growing on to big weights. The consumer does not want fat and the Bleu du Maine is a lean meat producer.
“They are also quite fineboned so are really easy lambing. There are rarely any problems.
“People are using them to cross on to Texels and Beltex because of that and the advantage of them having a higher killing out percentage – they have a higher meat to bone ratio.”
The breed society is heavily promoting them as the ideal ewe producer.
Mr Goldie said: “If you cross them with, say, a Texel, Beltex or Suffolk, the crossbred female is excellent. The ewes are very milky and prolific.
That is the niche we see for the breed.”
They are said to be very prolific – 200 per cent lambing rates are quite normal – and lambs are active, up on their feet and suckling, within a few minutes of being born.
When the breed first came to the country, the initial demand was colossal and led to silly prices.
“In the past ten years, we have concentrated on getting the quality up, and at the shows this year, a lot of people have been commenting on how improved they are,”
said Mr Goldie.
It has been achieved through careful selection when breeding and the results are proving attractive to the commercial men.
He said: “The breed has black hooves and a lot of people say they have less problems than white ones which are softer and more prone to problems.”
The quality of the British flocks are also being recognised abroad.
“We sold some to a German breeder who came over here and visited the flock. He liked the type of sheep and came back to the breed sale and bought about 12 in total.
“I co-ordinated the operation to get them over there and he told me he had been to France and Belgium looking at their flocks but thought the British were best.”
Mr Goldie has 50 pedigree breeding ewes and sells the offspring for breeding.
He was a farm adviser with ICI for 20 years and then developed and managed Nature’s World environment centre in Middlesbrough for 21 years.
He recently retired and is looking forward to spending more time preparing his sheep for shows and promoting the breed during his four-year presidency.
“I am looking forward to raising the profile and getting people to realise how much the breed has changed and improved,” said Mr Goldie, who was also recently elected to the council of the Yorkshire Agricultural Society.
Mr Goldie has judged the breed in Holland and at a number of shows in the UK, including the Royal Welsh and Suffolk.
The breed’s major annual sale of the year takes place at Carlisle on Friday, August 17.
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