We are new entrant farmers and took over the farm in 2016. The farm had not been in production for over 20 years and we had an opportunity to create a system from scratch that suited the current economic and environmental conditions.
We run a low input, low output, low impact system that is sensitive to environment and wildlife.
Our flock are a breed called Easycare which is a composite cross of a Wiltshire Horn crossed with Nelson Welsh Mountain. The Wiltshire Horn breed is one of the oldest breeds in the UK and it sheds its fleece in the spring. Crossed with the Nelson Welsh Mountain for hardiness and other breeds, the Easycare sheep does not need shearing, lambs without assistance, and has good mothering ability.
With the decline in the worldwide wool markets, a thick fleece is no longer a benefit as the cost of shearing is higher than the value of the wool produced.
Our sheep and lambs are raised outdoors, where they can roam freely and enjoy a healthy diet of grass, herbs and wildflowers. We do not feed grain or unsustainable soya based products but supplement with hay or silage in the winter months if grass is scarce. We have a low-stocking density and our farm environment is clean and spacious which reduces the need for medications.
The farm is also home to a lot of wildlife. We regularly see hares and wild roe deer in the hill ground. In the spring lapwings, curlew, sandpipers, golden plover come to breed. Threipmuir Reservoir supports a colony of black-headed gulls and is an important breeding area for little grebe, great crested grebe, tufted duck and teal. The coming of winter is marked by the return of overwintering species include whooper swan, golden eye, teal, pink-footed and greylag geese.
Graham and Becci Barr
Easter Bavelaw Farm