Blackdown Flock wins the 2015 EBLEX Improved Flock Award.

The Blackdown flock of Dorset sheep has been recognised by EBLEX as the Most Improved Flock of Dorset sheep in England for 2014. 

Graham and Anne Langford manage the 125 breeding ewes with help from their son Joss and his family. They’ve farmed near the Wellington Monument (near Taunton) for nearly 20 years, and in 2002 established the Blackdown flock. They are part of the Centurion Group of Polled Dorset Breeders, which collectively form their own Sire Reference Scheme Group. Graham and Anne purchased above average in-lamb stock from Centurion members, and became part of this group. Through artificial insemination they were able to use semen from the Centurion Ram of the Year for four years, taking quality and whole flock figures to a high level.  The Langford’s won this award in 2003 as a result of early work and did not expect to win it again.

“My philosophy is ’if you do not measure it then you cannot manage it’ and that can be applied to all enterprises,” comments Graham. “From the outset we have recorded with Signet to ensure our stock have full information on past performance of sires and dams, and to give an idea of potential for progeny.”

Graham and Anne find it difficult to get away from home so they make use of their own website to market stock available for sale.

This year they are also supporting the Performance Recorded sale for the Centurion Group of Breeders on 11 April at Sedgemoor Auction Centre. In the past they have shown and won at County shows for stock, Wool on the Hoof and fleece competitions.

But County shows were not the best format for the Langford family to sell their stock. “The show arena does not lend itself to best seeing our performance recorded stock, and as we don’t supplementary feed our stock, their condition is not always comparable.

“As we do not chase indices for individual sheep, this award provides recognition for the overall quality of the flock and for our efforts on our approach to balanced breeding values within the flock,” said Graham.

Commenting on the win, Signet Breeding Services Manager Sam Boon said: “Rates of genetic improvement in Signet recorded flocks are at an all-time high. The difference between the best high EBV breeding stock and average animals is increasing year on year. 

“The improvement in the genetic merit of the Blackdown flock is clear and they are to be congratulated on their achievement.”


Stock Available for Purchase

See the list of stock rams, shearlings and 2014 born lamb rams.  These all come with powerful Signet scores as both terminal sires for fast growing lambs for market and for breeding ewe replacements (maternal traits).  They will produce lambs that will finish early, or will develop into impressive breeding stock. All the details are at the BASCO website which holds the index and pedigree of all Dorset recorded sheep. Look up either N84 or Blackdown or Langford in the search boxes or even a named sheep!