Fifth Generation of the Frankland Family Benefit from Mixed Farming near Settle in North Yorkshire.

Visitors attending NSA North Sheep on Wednesday June 5, at New Hall Farm, Rathmell, can look forward to an event staged on a diverse mixed farm comprising sheep, beef and dairy enterprises covering an area of 900acres and land ranging from 400-1000ft above sea-level.

The unit which is part of Frankland Farms, is managed by the Frankland family and includes mother, Martha the third generation to farm here, who remains integral to the farm business – while the day-to-day management is carried out by her two sons, Richard and Chris and their two respective wives, Jacky and Ciara.

Richard’s daughter Pam and her husband, Thomas, manage the 220-cow Holstein cross dairy herd based at the family’s 300-acre unit at Longbank Farm, are junior partners in the business along with son Jon who manages the sheep flock, supported by his partner Phil who also works part-time for Agri-Lloyd. The family also has 120 suckler cows, crossed to Limousin and Belgian Blue bulls.

The sheep enterprise is home to some 1400 sheep of which 1200 lamb from Mid-February onwards through until the end of April. This includes 350 North of England Mules and Cheviot Mules, all of which lamb to Texel tups, while the remainder of the flock is made up of Texel crosses bred from the Mule ewes that lamb to a mix of Beltex cross, Texel and pure Beltex rams.

This year, the family also used three Suffolk cross Beltex tups with the aim of finishing lambs earlier for market. The flock also includes a small portion of Rouge cross ewes all of which are to the Beltex. Around 200 replacement gimmers are kept each year.

The Texel cross ewes are mainly all home bred while Mule ewes are bought in mainly from Bentham or from Junction 36, with the aim being to buy the best quality gimmers available. Beltex tups are purchased from Michael Davis of the Rathbone flock and James Wannop of Heaton Hall, either privately or at society sales.

Texel tups are bought at Skipton and Bentham with last year's purchases including the champions from the Bentham’s Ram-page sale.

All lambing takes place indoors with the sheep being housed approximately a month before lambing starts. All ewes are dosed with liquithrive pre-lambing, to help with lamb thrift and colostrum quality. Most years the family sell as many finished lambs as possible from the end of May at Skipton and Bentham auction marts.

Last year however, they made the decision to sell in the region of 500 Beltex lambs through the store ring which proved hugely successful, as they topped the market at Skipton at £98 with their average levelling at £85 for lambs selling at between 34 and 36kg.

As a result, they are considering selling their lambs the same way this year, as it frees up more grassland either for sheep or making fodder.

In contrast to most farmers, lambing pens in this area are traditionally bedded on rushes – a natural product which is known for helping to prevent lameness. The rushes are harvested on neighbouring farms, chopped, and then spread into the lambing pens through a straw blower. Depending upon the weather, ewes and new lambs can be kept inside for up to 48 hours after lambing.

Self-sufficient in terms of forage for all types of livestock, producing both silage and hay, sheep are initially provided with big bale silage with concentrates and molasses during the winter. At housing, they are provided with a TMR based on pit silage, molasses and haylage. In addition, an18% concentrate from I’Anson Brothers who devise various feed rations is provided.

Last year, the farm was able to reduce the amount of concentrates used due to the high quality forages produced last year.

Not an easy farm to manage, the business encompasses land of various soil types and includes 180 acres in a Higher-Level Stewardship scheme. Yet, this family has grown the business and adapted to ensure it remains a viable enterprise for future generations. In the last six years, ewe numbers have been increased by a third, and lambs are performing better now they are often sent onto clean dairy land after weaning.

Regularly topping the shows and markets, the Frankland Family are renowned throughout the area for producing very high-quality lambs and prime stock.

The farm also runs 360 head of replacement breeding and beef cattle at any one time, including the dairy calves – some of which are reared at New Hall Farm with others grazed on a headage basis on neighbouring ground for the summer.

All calves are reared on with some heifers sold as stores. Bulls are cashed at 10 months, either direct to a fattener or via the auction mart system. Suckled calves are sold as stores at a similar age between 10-12 months at local markets.

Looking to the future, the Frankland family see opportunities and potential with their main priority being to retain a sustainable income to support all families.

The decision to take on the dairy farm just six years ago, has been integral to securing their long-term future too as the grazing rotations for the sheep have increased and improved thereby enabling lambing to be focussed on one site while also providing the flexibility to lamb earlier and boost cashflow.

Going forward, Jon, aged 26, is keen to get back into breeding pedigree Texels under his own prefix of New Valley Texels. Having established a flock when he was 12, Jon was very successful and secured placings at the Great Yorkshire Show.

However, he dispersed his sheep four years ago due to a number of reasons, which saw prices peak at £2000 for tups and ewes. Jon is nevertheless hoping to re-establish his New Valley Texel flock and is once again looking forward to being on the showing circuit.

On hosting NSA North Sheep, the family really want to re-iterate that this is a big honour and a once in a lifetime opportunity to represent and showcase not just their family farm, but also the surrounding area and landscape that they are proud to be integral to.

The National Sheep Association (NSA) represents the views and interests of sheep producers throughout the UK, receiving tremendous support from everyone connected with the industry. The NSA is funded by the memberships of its sheep farmers. Together with the many industry related activities it is involved with, it aims to ensure that it plays a key part in every aspect of the sheep farming sector.