Richard Pedley – NFU Uplands Forum Representative
Richard Pedley farms in partnership with his parents at Ellerbeck in Barbon near Carnforth in the recently extended Yorkshire National Park.
The family currently run 1,000 Swaledale sheep, 150 Mule ewes and 20 Blue Faced Leicesters. Lambing for the Pedley family starts at the end of February with the Mule ewes which lamb to the Texel tup. This is followed by the Leicester ewes, then the Swalesdales start and finally the hill sheep begin in April.
On the cattle side of the business, the Pedley family run 40 cows with eight pedigree British Blues and the remainder being either pure Limousin or Limousin British Blue crosses.
Richard said: “Like many other hill farmers we’re extremely proud to play our part in producing the stunning landscape of the uplands. Grazing sheep, wall restoration, looking after wildlife habitat as well as hedging and fencing are just some of the tasks we have to do to keep the countryside looking in prime condition for tourists, day visitors and walkers alike.
“Livestock are the priority on our farm as without them we could simply not make a living. With a little help from the wider family and the working dogs, jobs are made a whole lot easier and much more enjoyable even during the toughest of times working in all conditions.”
The main aim of the Pedley’s Swaledale flock is to produce replacement females.
Richard added: “Around 450 ewes are put to the Swaledale tup.After lambing, single gimmers are turned up onto the fell to stay with their mothers. The twin gimmers join them later in the summer when they are all hefted.
“The Mule lambs are kept as breeding rams or fattened and sold through the Swaledale Sheep Breeders Association to ultimately supply the speciality range of lamb in M&S.
“The M&S speciality lamb range runs from January until the end of April with many renowned food critics praising the products because of the taste and tenderness of the Swaledale lamb we play a part in producing.”
Richard also keeps approximately 550 ewes which he puts to the Blue Faced Leicester tup in order to breed the North of England Mule lamb.
The female lambs are targeted for the September sales and the wethers are when sold fat and at optimum weight.
“After lambing, the work continues dosing the lambs, gathering the fells, shearing the sheep and hay and silage making to name just a few of the jobs we do during the summer,” said Richard.
“As sale time approaches one of my favourite days of the year is our village show.It’s great to take our Mule lambs to show, if nothing else to compare with other breeders. Over the years we’ve had good days, bad days and even one or two proud days.
“The preparation in getting the gimmers ready to sell is hard work. It’s even harder finding ten lambs to match for our top pen.
“The culmination of the year’s work ends the day we sell. If the lambs look well we can take pride in the fact that we’ve done our job well – even better if we can get a rosette for our efforts.”