Success gives family some food for thought

Ruth, Dallas and Kate Allen with two of their bulls.
Ruth, Dallas and Kate Allen with two of their bulls.

The Allen family is hoping to repeat its livestock sale success next month.

The family was thrilled with the prices achieved by its bulls at Stirling in February and is hoping for a similar sale at Carlisle in May.

The hammer came down at 7,000gns on Stouphill Double Top, a Rawburn Double OSeven son out of Rawburn Dancer with another son of Double OSeven, Stouphill Ewan, fetching 5,200gns.

“It was a tremendous experience but I have to admit, I have never been so nervous as during the inspection,” said Dallas Allen.

”With Double Top in the top five per cent and Ewan in the top one per cent for EBVs, we had a lot of interest in our pen. We were absolutely delighted with the sale and now have three senior bulls entered for Carlisle on May 22.”

The North Country Cheviot flock at Stouphill, Alnwick, was first established in 1974 by Billy and Kate Allen with ewes bought from Lairg. Son Dallas and daughter Ruth are also involved, working the two pure-bred closed flocks.

Top prices to date for tups include £12,000 for a Stouphill hill two-shear at Lairg in 2012 and £3,800 and the reserve champion ticket for a Humbleheugh shearling at Lockerbie in 2014.

The Allens’ first visit to the Royal Highland Show last year was memorable for all the right reasons as their three crop NCC hill ewe secured breed champion.

Maggie, as she is affectionately known, is home-bred, by Stouphill Kates Boy, who was sired by Keppoch Extra.

Sheep that are destined for show and sale receive feeds from Harbro’s Rumen Friendly range, including Clover Kelso Tup & Lamb and Kelso Bloom.

“We previously used a coarse mix but found that it was too rich and hot for the sheep,” said Dallas.

“We’ve used Kelso for the last two years and have had no scour, no problems at all. It keeps their coat and feet right and they look bright, sparky and fresh.”

Harbro feeds are also used to feed their herd of 40 pedigree Aberdeen Angus cattle, established in 2008 with five cows from John Elliot, Roxburgh Mains, Kelso.

Rather than creep feeding the calves, they are grown naturally on their mothers.

Dallas said: “At weaning, they are what they are, totally natural. We don’t push the bulls hard when they are young, and as a result, we get a lot of repeat customers.”

Once the bull calves are housed and settled, they receive Harbro Tri-Star Nuts.

Feeding continues at a reduced rate through the summer until housing in November when they move on to Harbro Pedigree Bull Crunch.

“We are not believers of ad-lib feeding. The Bull Crunch is very palatable and when they get their feed, they don’t pick at it, it’s all eaten at once,” said Dallas.

The bulls also receive hay as roughage and nearer to sale, they get Olympic Mash, a high-energy, low-protein mash of cooked barley, bran, flaked maize and peas, beet pulp and Evo.

“We’ve found that the bulls have grown and fleshed really well and we’re getting a good daily liveweight gain.

“They are looking really well, they’re very content and have a very good temperament,” he said.