Producer Case Studies

Bleu x Ram lambs
Bleu x Ram lambs

Blue x lambs
Blue x lambs

Millennium Bleu lambs
Millennium Bleu lambs


This month featuring...

PAUL FARMER talking to Sally Shone about his Millennium Bleus

Sally: Tell us about your background in sheep, Paul. How did you get started?


Paul: I had Lleyns before in the 70s when they were a rare breed. I used to put Bleu Du Maines onto them when Bleu Du Maines first came in [in the 80s]. I came out of sheep in the 90s to become the director of a company. When I retired from business, I went back to sheep.


Sally: When you went back to breeding sheep, why did you choose Bleu Du Maines in particular?


Paul: I went to the Malvern NSA Sheep Event in 2012 and met you, Sally, Stan Kilby and Jane Smith representing the Bleu Du Maine breed with some quality Millennium Bleu lambs. I had been undecided up until then but the lambs took my eye, probably because I'd had them before. I wanted a '5 to 12' sheep rather than a '5 past 12' one.

Sally: What exactly do you mean by that?

Paul: I wanted a sheep with a future! I'm not interested in pedigree breeding; just producing quality stock for commercial purposes.

Sally: So what do you consider to be the particular strengths of this breed?

Paul: Well, they are very prolific and the lambing is easy. They are good on their feet and are a good size. Commercially now, I'm finding that people are wanting a bigger sheep like the Bleu Du Maine. What I'm looking for in particular is carcass quality. It's fine breeding a mule but 50% of what you've got isn't worth much. If you can produce a better quality sheep on both sides, rather than just one, that's the future.

Sally: How do you see the breed going forward?

Paul: I would say that there's no quick fix going forward in this business. People can be reluctant to try new things; they tend to do the same as what they've done for the last 40 years. So progress can be slow and steady, but I think that's the best way. The problem is that 99% of our customers are supermarkets who want the same thing every time and that's very difficult to produce. People don't realise how hard it is to try and breed 'peas in a pod', so to speak.


Sally: What are your own future plans, Paul?

Paul: To keep going! I'm not prepared to spend a fortune at my time of life on the 'breed of the moment'; my goal is to try and get something better than what I have now. I am very happy indeed with the Bleu Du Maine ewes I bought who have produced some fabulous tups I'm really pleased with. People have even driven past and seen them, and then told me how good they look!

Sally: Thank you very much for your interesting insights into Bleu Du Maines, Paul. Look out in January for NEW TO BLEU's next interview, featuring Pete Crossmore with his take on using Bleu Du Maines on his commercial Texel flock.


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