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Just a little experiment...

It only took a few conversations with John and Carol Steitz of Steitzhof Merino (Kalispell, MT) to convince us we should give a Lincoln-Merino cross a try. This 50/50 breed cross is the foundation of the bond and corriedale breeds, both of which developed in the late 1800's. John and carol raise gorgeous colored merinos and we loved the idea of replicating this cross (in color!) using our lincoln longwool ewes and one of their merino rams. The results have been encouraging thus far. while most of the offspring retain the white fleeces of their moms, they will all carry the recessive allele for color. but we did get two absolutely stunning ewe lambs (pictured at right) who exceeded our wildest expectations. We are getting ready to send wool samples in to assess their wool fineness and quality, but we guarantee these fleeces will be a dream to work with for spinners!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

in addition to adding fineness to the fleeces of our lambs, crossbreeding with merino gives our lambs a bulkier frame, faster weight gain and and heavier  weights at butchering. we still value our lincoln longwools (a threatened breed listed on the livestock conservancy's conservation priority list ) and will continue to keep our purebred registered line going, but adding this mix to our flock opens up additional marketing opportunities for us in both meat and wool sales.

next up...this fall we will use an unrelated ram from the steitzhof farm to breed the 50/50 ewes to, producing a 75 % merino/25% lincoln cross (essentially polwarth genetics). we can't wait to meet the next generation!

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Buckaroo, Steitzhof Merino ram and father of our first generation of Lincoln-Merino cross lambs

Targeted and Regenerative Grazing

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Did you know that in addition to our grass-finished lamb and wool products, Roving Ram also provides targeted and regenerative grazing services to landowners in northwestern Montana?

Targeted grazing (also called prescribed grazing) is the use of livestock (cattle, goats or sheep) to accomplish a certain land use goal. From the University of Idaho website: "Targeted grazing is the carefully controlled grazing of livestock to accomplish specific vegetation management objectives. Unlike conventional grazing management, livestock are used as a tool for improving land health by performing weed control, reducing wildland fire, and aiding in restoration projects." 

 

We are currently in the second year of a knapweed control grazing project--sheep love knapweed! this project has been a great learning experience so far and we look forward to sharing with you how our second year of grazing impacts knapweed growth and reproduction as well as overall pasture health.

In addition to our targeted grazing services, we also provide intensively-managed grazing services for landowners who want to utilize livestock grazing as a tool for improving soil health and the productivity and diversity of their pastures. these are our regenerative grazing services, designed to prepare land for future fruit or vegetable production, improved forage production, or to enhance overall resiliency of a pasture through increasing soil organic matter and soil water retention, and decreasing soil erosion.

Interested? here is a link to our flyer that answers some frequently asked questions! and if you'd like to learn still more about this part of  our operation, or find out about this year's availability, please send us  an email at rovingramranch@gmail.com or call us at 406-291-4837.

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