NSA North Sheep 2019 hosts and dyed-in-the-wool sheep aficionados, the North Craven-based Frankland family, say they are looking forward to a highly successful day at their New Hall Farm in Rathmell, as next month’s high profile event looms ever larger.

The Franklands run 1200 ewes, which are in the capable hands of sheep manager, 26-year-old Jon Frankland, the fifth generation of the family to farm at New Hall, which was originally taken over by his great, great grandfather way back in 1880.

North of England Mule ewes figure prominently in the flock, with numbers currently standing at some 350 head. They are bought in as shearlings at both Skipton and Bentham Auction Marts, with the family always keen to source the top end, prize-winning pens among them. They purchased last year’s Bentham champions.

Shearlings are then put to the Franklands’ Texel tups, with Texel-x-North of England Mules now forming most of the flock. Some are sold as gimmer lambs, though most are retained as replacements.

These, in turn, go to the Beltex tup to produce prime lambs, which are again sold at both Bentham and Skipton, where the family has also shown and picked up prime lamb championships.

They say around 43kg is the ideal selling weight for their prime lambs, which continue to be in ready demand by both leading retail and wholesale butcher buyers.

“We sold around 500 Beltex-cross lambs last year as stores and we did very well, with the best end topping the market at Skipton in August at £98 per head, with overall averages well into the £80s,” said Jon, who also acts as an agent for major NSA North Sheep sponsor, Agri-Lloyd,

The Franklands, who also run a few Cheviot Mules, with numbers increasing, are big fans of the all-purpose North of England Mule, which were first introduced in the early 1990s when Jon’s father, Richard, moved away from horned sheep to start breeding commercial Texel-x-Mules.

Their latest crop of Mules scanned at about 200% and at times in the past have even scanned at 220%. They regularly produce up to 700 Texel-x-Mule lambs, circa 50% of them gimmers. Wether lambs are again sold through Skipton and Bentham.

“The North of England Mule has served us well. They are very easy to farm, require very little work and are easy lambing, with big lambing percentages,” said Richard.

NSA North Sheep 2019, organised by the Northern Region of the National Sheep Association (NSA),of which the Franklands are members, takes place on Wednesday, June 5, at New Hall Farm.

With over 6,000 visitors and 200 school children expected, the event will present the latest industry trends, equipment and technology, and deliver a platform for knowledge, discussion and debate from a powerhouse of speakers.

The event will be officially opened by President of the National Sheep Association and member of the House of Lords, Lord Inglewood, of Hutton in the Forest, Penrith. It will feature 38 Breed Societies – NEMSA will be among them –  and 155 trade stands from all sectors of the industry.

Further information and details about the event, including ticket sales and directions, can be found atwww.nationalsheep.org.uk/northsheep/