Thursday, 27 November 2008

The ecology of sheep farming

Post number 24

According to BBC reports (Farming Today, November 2008), 30% of sheep farming land has been lost and farmers quit their businesses. Figures used below are from Promar International reported by Agricultural & Horticultural Development Board Meat Services, AHBDMS for the year ending March 2008:

For an average Low Land Breeding Flock in England of 504 ewes, 1.4 livestock units require 1 hectare of grass land to forage in. The rate of loss due to sheep farming having become unsustainable is alarming. Total output per ewe of lamb meat is an average of £54.06 per ewe. Wool production, instead of contributing to income, incurs a cost of £0.47 per ewe to the farmer. This is in general agreement with the BBC report of an average loss of £0.30 per ewe where wool from one sheering is sold at £0.60 per ewe but it costs £0.90 to shear the animal.

The use of mutton for human consumption in Britain is not popular despite high profile efforts by HRH The Prince of Wales to promote its use in this very changing world. We will be going through some trying times in the next year or two with massive unemployment on the horizons. Mutton will provide a cost effecitve and tasty substitue for other expensive red and white meat. The use of wool for textiles and garments will help sheep farming become sustainable with reliable dry cleaning for after care in our urban societies.

Loss of grass lands to the nature will result in the upset of rural ecology when uncontrolled grass growth will upset the balance of flora and fauna as we know it. A sector of our income from tourism will also be lost if our country side is not maintained by mechanical means in the absence of sheep. Walking holidays contribute £1 billion to the national economy and this will be lost.

Bottle necks created by dry cleaning unfit of purpose, has had detrimental effects not only on a chain of businesses, but also on our rural environment and ecology. We can reverse the trend by investing in CCCC and partnering it. There is no better time than now to contribute to our economy and industry.



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