Edstaston Charollais Sheep

Producing Top Quality Recorded Charollais Rams for the Pedigree & Commercial Breeder

MV. Accredited. SIGNET Recorded. Scrapie Monitored. N.S.P Member

About Edstaston Charollais Sheep

The Meadows, Harmer Hill, Shrewsbury.

I was first attracted to Charollais Sheep in the mid 1980’s. We were farming 450 acres of land and the enterprises consisted of 140 pedigree Holstein cows, 500 North Country Mule x Suffolk ewes and an arable enterprise based on winter barley, spring barley and winter wheat.

The ewe flock was lambed in January and February to a Suffolk ram with lambs out to grass at a week of age and finished, in time for Easter, off grass and creep. Lambs had to be pushed on to release grass for the milking herd.

A Charollais ram was hired to run along side the Suffolks and we were so impressed by the results that the change was made to all Charollais rams and a small pedigree flock was started.

Nearly all lambs were sold dead weight and we found the Charollais crosses could be taken to heavier weights without running to fat and improved carcase conformation.

Over the years the high input commercial flock both in terms of feed and labour became less economical and a decision was made in the late 1990’s to sell the flock and also build up cow numbers. The January lambing flock had always competed with the dairy herd for grass especially in April/May.

Post foot and mouth the decision was made to relinquish the tenancy at Edstaston Hall which comprised of 220 acres. As a result the dairy herd was sold as a complete herd to re-stock a farm in Cumbria that had suffered foot and mouth.

Edstaston Charollais then moved to their new address at The Meadows, Harmer Hill where a small holding was purchased. The majority of the other 220 acres of land is now let to local farmers for silage and the growing of forage maize.

The pedigree flock has been built up over the years and now runs at about 60 breeding ewes. Our aim has always been to produce top quality recorded rams for both the pedigree and commercial breeder. If in the process we produce sheep with show potential this is an added bonus. We will not change the type of sheep we believe in (i.e. long lean sheep with good muscling and tight skins) just to win shows.

Ewe lambs are culled hard to ensure we are left with just the very best. If it is not good enough for us to breed with it is not good enough to sell. On the back of this a very lucrative trade in freezer lambs has been built up.

The shearling rams and ram lambs we produce will always go on to improve for their new owners due to our BRED NOT FED policy. We are currently selling 40 rams a year with a higher percentage every year going to pedigree breeders. We like to think that we have rams here to suit nearly every type of ewe and certainly every type of pocket.

The flock has been SIGNET recorded for the past 15 years and during that time we have seen a significant improvement in both the individual E.B.V.’s and the final index. In 2005 EDSTASTON CHAROLLAIS received an award for the flock that had improved its overall index the most during that year and were placed 2nd out of all recorded Charollais flocks in the U.K.

When purchasing a ram I have to like the look of him irrespective of his performance figures. If a good looking ram has a very poor index I will probably look elsewhere but if the figures are good I regard it as a bonus.

We have been members of the Scrapie Monitoring Scheme for the last 10 years and also joined the National Scrapie Plan when it was started. Today 75% of the EDSTASTON Flock is now group 1 and we very rarely use anything else other than group 1 rams.

We are fanatical about the Charollais breed and our door is always open for help and advice, view the stock or just simply to chat about sheep.