Meet Joe Baker
Name: Joe Baker
Flock Name: Lanamuir
What is your farm system?
Windshiel Farm, we are an organic livestock farm in Scottish borders. Carrying 70 suckler cattle, 900 commercial ewes, 25 pedigree Dorset’s and a few pigs.
All calves are sold store around 18 months off grass. All lambs are fattened through the summer off grass. Dorset rams are either retained for breeding in commercial flock or sold.
Why have you chosen Dorset’s?
When mum and dad came to Windshiel farm in 1991 they brought with them 200 Dorset’s which they farmed in Devon. The Dorset’s were sold over time and replaced by Lleyn sheep, however an opportunity to purchase a ram from a friend brought back good memories of the breed and we decided to purchase some ewe lambs from Carlisle to go with him.
We now have a small pedigree flock which run alongside the commercial Llyen flock.
What benefits has the breed brought?
The benefits of the breed for us are their mothering ability at lambing time coupled with the milkiness of the ewes. Using the rams we produce, we put back over some of the commercial flock. This helps finish lambs quicker and hit better carcass grades.
What have been the challenges?
One of the challenges we have found has been they are more prone to fly strike in the lambs due to them being woollier than other breeds. Another challenge has been keeping condition off the ewes pre-tupping and lambing.
How have you overcome them?
We have overcome this by either shearing lambs that we wish to sell in May and making sure we get pour on applied on the commercial lambs as soon as weather warms in June.
For the condition of the ewes pre-tupping, we try to keep them tight as possibly once lambs have been weaned and only supplement with some hay before allowing them back to spring grass for tupping. The ewes receive hardly any hard feeding apart from a week or two before lambing to help bring milk on.
One piece of advice?
Wean ram lambs sooner as ewes can come into season all year round.