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 Tongue River Farm

 Newsletter for Fall 2000-Winter 2001  

Susan&Frontend_loader.jpg (95401 bytes)  Susan&tractor.jpg (105141 bytes)
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

hr_eir96840.jpg (19982 bytes)Eir: polled white soft lustrous wool, eye muscle 35mm; more info

hr_buri94806.jpg (12101 bytes)Buri: polled white, long bodied and muscular, more info

hr_bjalfi95802.jpg (6814 bytes)Bjalfi: white horned, prolific daughters; more info

hr_bassi95821.jpg (15174 bytes)Bassi: polled white, beautiful wool; more info

hr_laekur97843.jpg (34326 bytes)Laekur: white horned top 10 for meat classification; more info

hr_morro98845.jpg (33288 bytes) Morro: moorit with excellent horns; more info

hr_skreppur92991.jpg (10419 bytes)Sveppur: white polled, wool has lots of thick thel; more info

 hr_sveppur94807.jpg (11831 bytes)Stubbur: white horned, outstanding meat progeny; more info

hr_hnykill95820.jpg (19870 bytes) 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.

   These superior 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.
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AI lambs Results: 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.

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Icelandic Crossbreds: 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.

     Icelandics crossed on other breeds are getting rave reviews. Crossed with Romney, Shetland, and Ramboulett produces fleeces that are better and heavier than each parent and lean fast growing lambs. The pelts from the crosses are heavenly and sell for a much higher price. One producer in Canada is selling  her crossbred pelts for $175 Canadian. We sell registered rams to Commercial flocks for ˝ price without papers so that producers can try these rams on their flocks at a reasonable cost.


Tongue River Farm in the news: The Tongue 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. 
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In other news the sheep fleeces from the Tongue River Farm  won Grand Champion,
Reserve Champion
First, Second, Third and 5th at the Oregon Flock and Fiber festival judged by Judith MacKenzie.

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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.  


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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


Dairy 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 future.  

check out this site for more details on milking Icelandic sheep. 

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Tongue River Farm
  5000 CR 4910
Pomona, MO 65789
  (417) 469-1151

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