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Licks provide year round reassurance

Breeding pedigree Texel ewes for over 30 years with an excellent reputation for quality stock, the Mellin’s at Hull House Texels need to source the best inputs for their stock and have a reliable system to enable them to achieve their desired results. 

The importance of maintaining body condition and balancing nutrition all year round for both the 250 pedigree Texel ewes, and the pedigree Dorset ewes that are vital for their A.I. embryo transfer programme is paramount to the ethos at the Mellin’s.

John Mellin explains that despite marketing the pedigrees through various society sales, and some privately, they also utilise local auction marts to sell the commercial type tups and gimmer lambs. 

“We are really looking for a quality carcase first and foremost, closely followed by exceptional wool and skin. We are mainly targeting the commercial market so it’s important our stock has the desired traits to suit this.

“We aim to sell shearling tups and ram lambs commercially, and we get a good price as long as they are big enough with plenty of flesh.” 

To achieve the right finish and size, it’s important to ensure a regular access to a high energy lick, as and when the stock requires it, explains John. 

“Supplementary licks fit our system. We use the Maxx licks all year round, with the high energy for the sheep and the mag for our herd of Longhorn cattle. We start putting them out in July, and August, however, the sheep really start using them in September, when the weather starts to change.

“We really want to have the licks there with the stock in the field as a backup; the seasonal change in grass quality happens at a slightly different time of year, every year. When it was wet last year, we found the sheep continued to take the licks all year round,” adds John.

“The cattle use the licks in much the same way as the sheep; any change in the weather and they draw on them. It also safeguards them from staggers and we always see them milking well after they’ve calved down.

“Touch wood, we also haven't seen any downer cows recently, and with the cattle grazing our rougher pastures, it really means we get a more efficient use of the forage in front of them.

“I see it as self-supplementation,” says John. “The stock tells you when they want the extra energy, and reassuringly with the Maxx licks, as they are hardened, they can’t bite into them; only lick them in a controlled manner.” 

Speaking at a recent farmer meeting held by Pearson’s, David Thornton, Rumenco’s technical manager explains that the new Maxx licks are specifically formulated to optimise nutritional intake, whilst complementing ad-lib forage and grass based diets.

David adds that the patent pending manufacturing process of Maxx licks focuses on the rapid dehydration of molasses. “This has resulted in a uniform and controlled intake by livestock as confirmed in recent on-farm trials, and by farmer feedback.

“This innovation has resulted in a reliable product that suits many farming systems, and it’s an exciting development for Rumenco, and one we are delighted to supply Pearson’s with,” concludes David.