Three generations of the Kerr family are the fore of a thriving sheep enterprise in the heart of Killyraine, Emyvale, Co. Monaghan. Christopher Kerr; his father and grandfather are the trio behind a flock of 300 ewes comprising of pedigree Suffolk; pedigree Wicklow Cheviot sheep and cross-breds including Texels; Belclare-crosses and Suffolk-crosses.
It is only in recent years that the Kerrs have ventured into the pedigree ovine circles, particularly with the Suffolk breed and they now count twenty-six pedigree Suffolks and one Suffolk, all of which are managed under the ‘Kerr’s name’.
Keen to venture into pastures new, Christopher introduced sixty Wicklow Cheviot ewes and one Cheviot ram to the Monaghan-based holding in 2017 and now finds himself in the process of establishing this front of the flock further also.
“I am trialling a number of breeds at the moment. With the Wicklow Cheviot breed, I hope to get involved in the Donegal club over the next while.” Christopher Kerr told Catherina Cunnane of That’s Farming.
“We lamb our pedigree Suffolk sheep at Christmas and a few cross-bred sheep for the Easter market. The rest of them then lamb from March, 10th, onwards.This is our second year lambing inside” Christopher added.
“What makes our enterprise very unique is that we fed lambs typhon as an alternative to meal, which is often regarded as the untapped secret when it comes to fattening lambs. We attended a farm walk and since that, we put 12-acres under typhon.” Christopher said.
Casting an eye on breeding quality, exhibiting the flock’s cream is the pinnacle in the calendar for the Kerr family; they intend several local; regional and national shows throughout the season and some of their top show picks include Castleblaney; Dundalk; Virginia; and Athlone.
Sheep farming and rising to the top in major competitions at shows paints part of the picture for Christopher, a third-year third-level student, who returns to his native home-soil at the weekend to attend to the flock.
“When I am not farming or in college, I also attend farm walks and open days as we are members of discussion groups. In the past, we hosted two farm walks after we constructed a new shed. These events are a fantastic way to meet like-minded people and learn from fellow farmers.” Christopher noted.
Looking forward to the future that lies ahead, Christopher’s main focus outside of the Agricultural field is to complete his degree in a bid to carve out a professional career as a second-level teacher. On the sheep enterprise front, Christopher and his family have intentions to increase their flock numbers over the next while. Already reaping the rewards of the Cheviot breed, Christopher would not rule out converting the majority of the flock to this hardy, easy-lambed breed.
“I would go full-time sheep farmer if it was possible to make a sustainable living out of it. With woodwork teaching and sheep farming, I feel that I will definitely find the happy medium.” Christopher concluded.
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