BRIAN Curran, from Glack-more Blackface, runs a
flock of 250 ewes on approximately 70 acres of ground. He also owns hill ground and has hill commonage, with some 180 North Type ewes and 70 South Type ewes.
Brian is a third generation Blackface breeder.
His father and grandfather were passionate about the Blackface breed and Brian can recall going to Ballymena’s Fairhill 45 to 50 years ago with them.
Prominent tups used back then would have been Armstrong, Harkin, Carson and Crawford tups. “My father passed away when I was young, so I was thrown in at the deep end then and had to learn from my mistakes – got some hard lessons, lol, says Brian.
He added: “The characteristics of the breed has changed dramatically over these last 20-25 years. The skins have got tighter, I have tried to improve my stock by buying some of the best tups about down through the years, sometimes in partnership and sometimes on my own.
“I prefer tups with good hard heads, big nose end, good hair and skin and confirmation. Leg colours have to be right as well, though it’s hard to get this all in one tup.
“I used to do a lot of shows over the summer months but it was a serious amount of work, although very enjoyable and a great social event. I once had a Calla bred ewe which won 14 supreme championships in two and a half years.”
Brian explained: “Some of my top breeding tups in the last 10-15
years have been Woolfords, Cl-oughfin tups and have also used a fair lot of homebred tups these last five or six years. I like to see the mothers of the tups because this is very important to me.
“In 2017 I purchased a share in the 16k Cloughfin and I retained two sons of his.
“Those two tups are the background to most of my lambs for the 2021 sales. The female side of my sheep are extremely important to me, good ewes are very saleable.
“I’m looking forward to the sales again in 2021, hoping we can get back to a bit of normality. The next six weeks will be a busy time for most of us but I have two sons and two daughters who help me out on the farm. Hoping to see everyone at the URBA sale on the 4th October in Ballymena Livestock Market.”