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Tongue River Farm
for Fall 2000-Winter 2001
Susan uses the tractor with Farmhand loader to feed the sheep
So much is happening that I barely know where to start. First of all we were again successful in importing semen from some of the best sires in Iceland. The list includes:
Click on thumbnails to enlarge
Eir: polled white soft lustrous wool, eye muscle 35mm; more info
Buri: polled white, long bodied and muscular, more info
Bjalfi: white horned, prolific daughters; more info
Bassi: polled white, beautiful wool; more info
Laekur: white horned top 10 for meat classification; more info
Morro: moorit with excellent horns; more info
Sveppur: white polled, wool has lots of thick thel; more info
Stubbur: white horned, outstanding meat progeny; more info
Hnykill: white polled, carries gray, prolific daughters. more info
We will be using these 9 rams on our AI ewes this year. The Icelandic breed with its superior sires is being discovered in other parts of the world also. Norway is importing Icelandic semen this year to improve their native sheep especially the meat carcass qualities. Iceland has been improving the carcass qualities of the breed since 1940 and have increased the back muscle from 1100 mm2 to 1400 mm2, By the recent use of an ultra sound machine producers can have their replacement prospects, both ewes and rams scanned for eye muscle size and shape and should help them make huge gains in improving the carcass quality in the future.
genetics are coming to us via the semen imports. The manager of the SOUTHRAM AI
station Gudmundur Johannesson and his wife will be coming to the US next year
2001 for the Annual meeting of ISBONA which will be at Rhinebeck NY on the 3rd
weekend in Oct. he will be judging the fleece classes, showing us how sheep are
classified in Iceland, showing videos of the AI station and the work that is
done there and much more.
We are thrilled by the quality of AI lambs that were born this year. One of our
ewes STS45 D had triplets by Askur that weighed 50, 50 and 40 lbs at 46 days!
They include rams that we will be using on our breeding flock this year, some
are gray or moorit; most carry color and patterns; all have incredible fleeces
and conformation and several are from the Thoka gene sire (multiple birth gene)
and the leader sheep. The bred ewes are bred to sires that will have the best
chance of producing colorful, soft fine-fleeced exceptional offspring.
In the news this summer was a local 4-Her that bred her Suffolk ewe lamb
“Rhubarb” to an Icelandic sire. The resulting lamb was born in late
February. He received only mother’s milk and grass and was 140 lbs at the end
of June. He grew so fast that he was too
big for the market lamb class at the
August county fair. He turned a lot of heads around here.
Just imagine a whole flock of crossbred lambs that were 140 lbs in June.
They would hit the market at the time of year that yields the highest price at
the sale barn. We have other commercial breeders trying Icelandics for
crossbreeding also. We will keep you posted as to the results from these
experiments. One breeder in Ohio gets $10 more per lamb at the sale barn for his
market lambs and is thrilled with the results he is getting.
River Farm in the news:
River Farm was featured in an article in the Agri-Guide www.agguide.com
in the November 17, 2000 issue. This
article showcased Icelandic sheep production.
In other news the sheep fleeces
from the Tongue River Farm won Grand
Reserve Champion, First, Second, Third and 5th at the Oregon Flock and Fiber festival judged by Judith MacKenzie.
Felting News: I met Ayala Talpal at the Black Sheep festival. She was giving a needle felting demonstration. I bought her well-written book as well as some felting needles. Rex took right off with the felting needles and has created a whole series of felt character heads.
See them all as well as our
new felt pages on our web site that
features projects that were done with Icelandic fiber.
We now offer Ayala’s great needle felting book. It is easy to understand instructions that take you from start to finish in easy to learn steps. Included with the book are 4 felting needles. The book is $18.95 plus $3.50 postage. Needle felting can be done with any fiber. You can add decoration easily to garments with this technique. Easy and fun!!!
Felting needles can be used to felt wool dry or wet
and is especially good for dry felting wools or fibers that don’t felt
readily. The needles are also good for adding decoration to an already felted
piece as well as to tack wool in place before the wet felting process Is begun.
Different size felting needles are also available from Ateliers Camelot, Amacre
Dr, Hooe, Plymouth. Devon, UK. Ask
for a price list and catalog. They also sell felting books.
If you haven’t
discovered the book Skulpturel Filting (Sculptural felting) check it out.
Written in Danish but with pictures that explain her procedures, author
Brigitte Hansen has taken felting to a new level with her felted people, elves
and wall hangings. A translation is in the works. A real inspiration. Available
from Susan’s Fiber Shop ph 888-603-4237
Sheep. The new
buzzword in the sheep dairy industry is Icelandics. With milk production
averaging 2 to 4.4lbs a day they are milking similarly to the best dairy breeds.
However they are milking at this rate on mostly grass without high inputs of
grain. Since grain is the one biggest cost in producing milk, the profits are
potentially much higher with Icelandics. Their hardiness teamed with the high
price for their fiber and meat makes this breed highly attractive to the dairy
industry. The new dairy www.truenorthfarm.com
that has just started up in NY State will have some records starting next year
on milk production. The milk analysis shows that the milk has excellent
butterfat, protein and solids that are needed to make first class cheese and
yogurt. Icelandics are hardier, have a better lamb survival rate that most dairy
breeds so should be in demand for breeding stock as well as dairy sires in the
out this site for more details on milking Icelandic sheep.
photos, graphics, and text:
© Copyright Tongue River Farm, 2000