Beginning Farmers in Saskatchewan

In which users discuss matters pertaining to the management of the health, welfare, and productivity of their flocks. Nutrition, pasture management, health care protocols, feeding systems, and such are all on topic.
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Alex Neshta
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Location: Saskatchewan, Canada
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Beginning Farmers in Saskatchewan

Postby Alex Neshta » Sat Nov 19, 2016 4:56 pm

Hello everyone,
Me and my wife are going to start a sheep farm in Saskatchewan.
Originally we are from Ukraine and couple of month ago moved to province from Alberta. Now we are buying a farmland close to Saskatoon and thinking to start with small flock (5 ewes+1 ram) to learn how it works.
As we do not have any farm background we are looking for any information about it.
Thank you.

denice
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Re: Beginning Farmers in Saskatchewan

Postby denice » Sun Nov 20, 2016 9:33 am

Welcome Alex
There is a wealth of information here and from the many producers. My experience has been that sheep purchased locally from a similar management style do the best. You might do a google search for sheep in Saskatchewan and see what you come up with for breeds ect. Then contact some folks to see if someone would be willing to act as a mentor. Some basics with sheep are the same across the country but each location and breed has particulars that do and do not work elsewhere, so best to find folks who have been there done that and been successful. You might find some producers in the northern plains of the US as well.
I imagine Universities with Agriculture programs or sheep associations would have some information as well

Denice

woolpuller
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Re: Beginning Farmers in Saskatchewan

Postby woolpuller » Mon Nov 21, 2016 5:18 am

Hi:
Lots of info available. One of the best places is:
http://www.sheepandgoat.com/
My web site has some info also:
codan-suffolks.com

Search and will find lots.
Best of luck with your adventure.
Bill

Linda Poole
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Re: Beginning Farmers in Saskatchewan

Postby Linda Poole » Mon Nov 21, 2016 6:28 am

Hello, Alex, and a warm welcome to the world of shepherding.

You've got a good start already by joining this forum and asking for input. Lots of good shepherds here, and some very generous with their time and expertise in helping people get a good start. I'm with Denice though with the suggestion that you visit with some successful shepherds in your area soon. Perhaps you'll find one or more who can serve as a mentor and sounding board as you get going with your own flock.

One of the best all-around sources of info I've found for our northern prairie area is the Alberta Lamb Producers website at http://www.ablamb.ca/.

Another on-line community with skilled, experienced, and generous shepherds is sheep-l. John from Australia, who goes by Dog on this forum, heads up sheep-l. A year or so ago he posted info on how to join sheep-l, but I don't see that post to provide you with a link.

Two regional blogs that I enjoy are http://ranching-with-sheep.blogspot.com/ and http://lifewithsheep.blogspot.com/.

And my place is not far south of the Medicine Line, in northern Montana. I love to talk sheep and you and your wife are welcome to visit.

Linda

jpa
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Re: Beginning Farmers in Saskatchewan

Postby jpa » Tue Nov 22, 2016 7:28 pm

Do not know these folks personally but check out this site. http://www.mcdermitranch.com/

Alex Neshta
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Re: Beginning Farmers in Saskatchewan

Postby Alex Neshta » Fri Nov 17, 2017 6:03 am

I would like to resume my story.

In January 2017 we bought 40-acres farm in 30 minutes north of Saskatoon. Previous owners have not engaged in farming. They used it just as acreage. There were a house, barn, very old and broken barn, and field. So we had to build from scratch and first we built the fence made out of free pallets.

In April we bought 4 NC Cheviot ewes and 1 NCC cross Dorper. The seller said they are “positive” and “100%” pregnant. But they were not. Unfortunately.
After that we added 4 young cross Suffollk and Clun Forest ewes and bought 1,5 year old registered Suffolk ram. Now they all are together for one more month.

We are going to buy more ewes this spring. But still do not sure about breed.

We spoke to few sheep farmers and they all have different opinion.
One: Purebred medium size ram plus purebred medium size ewes. (All same breed)
Two: Purebred big size ram plus small purebred ewes. (Ram and ewes - different breed)
Three: Do not care about purebred ewes, cross are better.
Etc...

We thought to buy purebred Suffolk ewes. But now we are not sure. If we have Suffolk ram is it better to buy Clun Forest, NC Cheviot or another medium size breed ewes?
Last edited by Alex Neshta on Fri Nov 17, 2017 10:56 am, edited 1 time in total.

Polypays4U
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Re: Beginning Farmers in Saskatchewan

Postby Polypays4U » Fri Nov 17, 2017 8:32 am

The right breed of sheep for you depends on what product you intend to sell and the market for that product. Having a mentor nearby would be a great help. Of the breeds you mentioned I've had Suffolk and Clun Forest. I prefer the disposition of the Clun Forest. I prefer purebreds vs crossbreds and sheep that are on a program such as the National Sheep Improvement Program to help with flock improvement.

I wish you well and I hope you will find shepherding and sheep very rewarding.
Bill Hardman
Uncompahgre Polypay Farm
Delta, Colorado
The western home of productive Polypays.

evranch
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Re: Beginning Farmers in Saskatchewan

Postby evranch » Thu Mar 22, 2018 2:33 pm

I'm also in Saskatchewan, 1.5 hours south of Saskatoon. Have you had any contact with the SSDB? They have literature and put on courses and such for new shepherds and can put you in touch with locals as well. If you want to chat sometime send me a PM, the SK sheep community is a friendly one and I'm always happy to help out as I was helped by others.

You really have to make up your mind what you want to accomplish with your operation before you know what your flock composition will be like. I'm pure commercial and don't particularly care about breed, I will cross anything into my flock that looks like it will fit and keep the ewe lambs if it works. My sheep are a local "landrace" type sheep that are a sturdy Dorset x Arcott x Hampshire x NCC in various mix. Some are whiteface, some are blackface, some have spots and silly NCC ears. Selection is based on twinning, good mothering and ability to thrive on forage alone. I produce market lamb at low input costs but I am not winning any shows for certain.

I would say that this is a fairly typical SK commercial flock. Winter hardiness is your most important trait in SK when it comes to keeping your feed bills down and your lamb crop up, and in my experience it's expensive purebred rams that die in the winter while heavily pregnant cross ewes pull through in good condition. Some breeds should not even be raised in this climate IMO and you are best off to start in sheep with some good commercial ewe lambs from a local producer, who has proven results. They will be less expensive to purchase, less stressful to manage, and hardier.

Good luck with your sheep endeavor! NCC is a good choice for SK.

Alex Neshta
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Re: Beginning Farmers in Saskatchewan

Postby Alex Neshta » Wed Feb 27, 2019 10:59 am


Alex Neshta
Newcomer
Posts: 9
Joined: Sun Jul 03, 2016 8:23 am
Location: Saskatchewan, Canada
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Re: Beginning Farmers in Saskatchewan

Postby Alex Neshta » Tue Jun 04, 2019 7:26 am

It's time to buy sheep shearing clipper, but I don't know which one!
There is very expensive in Sheep Development Board in Saskatoon.
I am looking for any on EBay but don't know what kind I need as I don't have any experience.
Any suggestions, please?

Alex Neshta
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Posts: 9
Joined: Sun Jul 03, 2016 8:23 am
Location: Saskatchewan, Canada
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Re: Beginning Farmers in Saskatchewan

Postby Alex Neshta » Tue Mar 31, 2020 9:43 am

Hello
I have a question about silage
I can buy it for same price, but I don't know what is better: corn or barley silage?
Thanks

Mike Wallace
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Re: Beginning Farmers in Saskatchewan

Postby Mike Wallace » Wed Apr 01, 2020 5:54 am

Are the dry matter(moisture) % the same on both?
If they are the same dry matter, the book values for energy and protein for corn silage and barley hay are very similar.
I do not have book value for barley silage, and have never seen or fed it. How were these put-up, baleage?

Alex Neshta
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Location: Saskatchewan, Canada
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Re: Beginning Farmers in Saskatchewan

Postby Alex Neshta » Wed Apr 01, 2020 9:36 am

I am just going to order it for next season, 100 tonnes in a long bag

Alex Neshta
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Re: Beginning Farmers in Saskatchewan

Postby Alex Neshta » Wed Apr 01, 2020 9:40 am

What a jock is April first?
Tonight two ewes brought two triples, but it's April first in Saskatchewan and -22C outside... Four lambs froze to death :cry:

Mike Wallace
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Re: Beginning Farmers in Saskatchewan

Postby Mike Wallace » Wed Apr 01, 2020 5:03 pm

Darn!, That is cold. Pray it moderates soon.
As far as corn/barley silage, the devil will be in the detail: Stage of growth at harvest, moisture level, fineness of cut, integrity of the bag.
Since I have never been around barley silage, take this with grain of salt. The bulk of the problems I have seen with corn silage include adequate consumption of material to meet nutritional needs, and listeriosis.
Adequate consumption of nutrients depends on ability of the sheep to consume adequate amounts limited by moisture levels and adequate supplementation of protein, energy and calcium. FWIW, after many years of using the recommended 36% moisture level silage, I became convinced 40-45% moisture levels was much better feed for gestating-lactating ewes with better dry matter consumption, and no experienced problems with listeria. Fineness of chop is very important.


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