Tullyvallen Lord of the Ring, Overall Champion Carlisle Breed Society Sale 2012
The Tullyvallen Flock from A J Graham, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland. Flock Code MAG
The Tullyvallen flock of pedigree Rouge was established in 1992 after we admired the qualities of the breed and developed an interest through helping Alison’s uncle and aunt, John and Norah Johnston of the very successful Novara Flock at a few shows.
Ewe lambs were purchased from Ballylinney and Corrick flocks with a small number of ewes purchased at the Mountpleasant and Ballylinney dispersal sales but the real “leg up” came when John and Norah offered us the choice of the in lamb Novara ewes when the flock was dispersed.
From these initial purchases some very successful families were established and supplemented with the purchase of BHL B1 sired by Tullyvallen A – One , AGM M23, the pick of the ewes in the dispersal of the highly successful Tullygarley flock and SF L93 at the Sterling dispersal.
We have always believed strongly that rams are half the flock and we have endeavoured to try a new ram at least every second year on part of the flock. We have been extremely fortunate since the initial purchase of Toppin Castle Pegasus each ram has delivered the qualities for which they were selected, these included Broadwood Aristocrat, Stewart’s Wilfred, Ruval Endeavour, Langlands Goodfellow, a “must have” purchase when we saw him winning his class at the Highland Show, Drumhirk Victorious and Kinsella Kit Kat who sired the champions in RUAS, Northern Ireland Premier Sale and Carlisle Premier in 2012. New genetics were sourced from France with the purchase of Duc from the auction at the central performance station in 2004, his exceptional carcase traits and tight skin being a trademark of his progeny. Current stock rams are Millend Lighthouse, Kyleen Draper and the home bred Premier, sired by the imported Belgium sire Duck de Fortin from the Drumhirk flock, his first lambs have really impressed in both the Tullyvallen and Sunrise flock to whom we sold a half share.
Next year’s “new try” will be the first prize shearling ram and our favourite at this year’s Paris show which impressed with his overall size, fleshing, tight skin and presence.
Our best show successes have been with two home bred females; Gem, taking breed championships both as a gimmer and senior ewe in addition to Reserve Interbreed Short Wool at the RUAS. These ewes and their flockmates have helped the flock win the N.I. Show flock of the year for the last seven years and the UK Show Flock of the Year on two occasions. Our present show ewe La-La has scored two RUAS Championships in addition to being placed 4th and 5th in the Northern Ireland Shows Association Interbreed Ewe Final in the last two years with her gimmer daughter being reserve champion in RUAS 2014. This Ewe Final is one of the leading competitions in Northern Ireland with only 16 ewes qualifying from all the shows throughout the season.
We have always endeavoured to breed sheep with strong carcase qualities and are true to breed type but believe that the use of performance recording has been central in developing sheep that can not only compete successfully in the show ring but also deliver results when used by commercial flocks, replacement females are only selected from the top 50% of performance results.
While breeding, showing and selling sheep have been very satisfying if not challenging, it is meeting other breeders from across the UK and Ireland that has gave us the most pleasure