An Agricultural Geography of Great Britain. The Commonwealth by D. W. Gilchrist Shirlaw

By D. W. Gilchrist Shirlaw

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Additional resources for An Agricultural Geography of Great Britain. The Commonwealth and International Library: Geography Division

Sample text

T h u s a year that is bad for cereal growing will most often be good for potatoes, sugar beet, and grassland. On the other hand, if a dry season is experienced and the output from grass and most crops is low, the increased cereal yields will often compensate. PROFITABILITY T h e profitability of a mixed dairy and arable farm will depend to a large extent on the distribution of the gross output between milk and cash crops. Surveys have repeatedly shown that in the present economic climate the profit per hectare is greater with arable farming than with livestock.

T h e ewe lambs may also be sold fat, but some are sold for crossing, again with a down breed—this time a Hampshire tup is popular. T h e major disadvantage of the cross-bred flock is that it cannot be self-contained. T h u s if the ewes are capable of four crops of lambs, 25 per cent of the flock has to be replaced each year. There are two main differences between the management of a cross-bred flock and that of a hill flock. Firstly, the ewes are encouraged to give multiple births ; this is achieved by having them in rising condition at the time of mating ; thus they are usually kept on poor pasture after their lambs are weaned in August and then they are brought onto better pasture about two weeks before mating ; this ensures that multiple ova are produced and that a high proportion of twins will be born.

Of the total output about 45 per cent will be from the sale of wether lambs, about 25 per cent from the sale of gimmer lambs, about 15 per cent from the sale of draft or cast ewes, and a further 15 per cent from the sale of wool. These figures will vary from farm to farm and from season to season, but it can be estimated that, to yield a reasonable living for a man and his family, a hill farm should be large enough to carry at least 400 breeding ewes and preferably some breeding cattle. All areas of hill sheep farming have much in common.

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