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North Country Cheviots top choice for Dungannon farmer

ON Friday, July 27, the North Country Cheviot NI Club was hosted by Steven Thompson and family from the Gortnaglush flock at Newmills, Dungannon.

Steven is the current NCC NI Club secretary and has been a registered breeder since 2017. Steven first bought North Country Cheviot ewe lambs from the Leam flock in 2012 with the aim of breeding quality replacements for his commercial flock. After several years of crossing Steven purchased his first ram from Allister McNeill’s Kilvaddy flock and a further 10 gimmers purchased from the renowned Hownam Grange flock in Kelso at the September Lockerbie sale.

Steven now runs a strong flock of 40 Park type North Country Cheviots along with 260 commercial ewes and 100 beef cattle on 140 acres.

Over the coming years the plan is to increase the Gortnaglush flock, focusing on breeding the right type of ewe that lambs easily and has lambs that get up and suck with little assistance.

Prolificacy and growth rates are very important to Steven, only keeping the best performing ram lambs over to sell as shearling rams, these are usually sold at the NI club sale.

The event was supported well with club members from throughout Northern Ireland in attendance. The event was held in Steven’s new state of the art lambing shed, which comfortably houses 300 ewes at lambing.

On show on the night was Gortnaglush’s two current stock rams Stragole Xerxes and Kilvaddy Xtype, three rams for the NI club sale sired by Kilvaddy Xtype, this year’s batch of NCC ewe lambs and gimmers and some of the Cheviot Mule gimmers entering the commercial flock.

The night finished off viewing the very impressive flock of Northie ewes in an adjoining field. NCC NI Club Chairman Irwin Dougherty issued a vote of thanks to Steven and family for hosting the event and presented Steven with a gift from the club kindly donated by Agri Lloyd.

The 3rd Annual North Country Cheviot Club sale will be held on Friday, August 27, at a new venue, Beattie’s Pedigree Livestock Centre, Omagh. There will be a wide range of stock available at this sale, including registered pedigree park and hill type males and females along with first cross NC Cheviot ewe lambs and gimmers.

With a strong entry of over 300 sheep entered for this sale from Northern Ireland’s top registered flocks, it really is an opportunity not to be missed for anyone wanting to get into this increasingly popular breed.

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