PSGHS member profile: Rob Beaumont

Rob Beaumont
Andersey Farm
Wantage, Oxfordshire

Rob Beaumont first purchased Andersey Farm in 1989, with poultry units being the sole livestock focus on the 60 acre holding. Bringing the poultry enterprise to a close in 2004, Rob decided to invest in a flock of Southdown sheep, needing livestock to keep his interest in the farm. The Beaumonts were initially drawn to the breed was due to Rob’s wife, Jan, liking their appearance, but having researched their history Rob became fascinated by the fact that they had declined in popularity in commercial flocks. “They seemed to have fallen from grace, which is why I chose to join the Signet recording scheme, to prove they were still a viable terminal sire,” comments Rob.

Currently running around 80 ewes, Rob has kept the flock closed since becoming MV accredited in 2015. To avoid in-breeding the flock is split into seven ewe families and seven ram lines, with Rob also using the Shearwell Flock recorder and software, as well as the Signet EBV data, to make breeding decisions. Lambing currently begins in the middle of March, with the aim of moving this into April in the future, with all lambs born inside to help ensure they are assigned the correct ewes.

With all sales being done privately off the farm, the main motivation for joining the Premium Sheep & Goat Health Schemes for MV accreditation was to show the health status to prospective buyers, with Rob adding that “it’s also peace of mind that at least one disease is not going to be an issue.” Keeping the flock closed and deciding not to take the sheep to shows and sales are all decisions made to protect their health status. Rob notes that disease has been an issue over the years but with the input of their local vet practice, Larkmead Vets, they have finally got most health issues under control. “Without vet support the sheep would have left the farm. We use more vaccines than previously, and they work. There was a background problem with abortion which caused me a lot of concern, but we have solved that issue over the last two or three years.”

Having been runner up on a number of occasions, the Andersey flock’s 2022 lamb crop won the Cresswell Crook, awarded to the most improved flock of Southdowns. The win represents years of hard work, with Rob breeding his own high-performance rams and culling low index ewes and rams quite ruthlessly. Rob also attributes his success to his commitment to using EID in recording birth details, weights and scanning results, which has been worth the investment.

On the progress made with the breed Rob comments, “if you look at the Signet Recording website, you will see that the Southdown ram is now able to meet the demands of the modern sheep breeder looking for a terminal sire. One of the traits of Southdown rams is they work exceptionally well on ewe lambs.” Moving forward, Rob aims to continue to improve the rams as terminal sires and regain their popularity with commercial flock masters, as well as improving the ewes on the maternal side.

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This member profile is taken from the 2023 edition of PSGHS News.

Posted by SRUC Veterinary Services on 17/08/2023

Tags: Member Profile
Categories: PSGHS