Chris & Emma Hall

We lamb three times through the year which is generally joyful despite tiring time.

Tell us a bit about your background and how long have you been farming for?

I’ve been farming all my life. I grew up on the family farm, the only other thing I thought of doing was being a butcher.

Tell us more about your farm and the activities you do?

In 2009 we rented seven acres to start with and then have just rented sub blocks of land as it has arisen. We are now farming on 300 acres and have bought the original seven acres to build our home on. Every year the meadows flood therefore a close eye is kept on the river and forecasts to ensure the flock is moved safely.

Our farm is a total family enterprise. Emma was previously an occupational therapist. She joined the business full time in 2015. We predominantly farm sheep but have a calf rearing enterprise on the side.

We lamb three times through the year which is generally joyful despite tiring time. Hamish loves shearing season, rounding up the sheep and handling the wool (and jumping in the wool bags).

 

What do you enjoy about working with sheep and what is the hardest part?

Our favourite part is that they’ve all got their own individual character. There’s a real sense of freedom working for yourself in the outdoors. Also the bond with your dog to safely move sheep is rewarding. The hardest part is there is never a day off.

What type of land do they graze on and what is the movement of the flock throughout the year?

A vast mixture from conservation grazing, water meadows to rye grass and turnips through winter.

 

Can you tell us about the treatments you use to keep the sheep free of infections and parasites. Do you think there has been a change in animal husbandry over the past 10 years?

We aim to keep medicines to a minimum through careful breed selection. The flock is on a basic worming programme. For us it has been all focussed on developing our base increasing barn space for lambing welfare and developing a handling system for ease of cleaning and low stress to the animal.

Are there other changes in farming practices you have seen in the last 10 years?

Increasing electronic record keeping. No significant changes for us personally because we don’t receive any government funding. The business stands alone.

Tell us about a “day in the life” of you.

No two days are the same. I contract shear though the summer months and them I’m away again in winter to do contract pregnancy scanning. In winter we take 2000+ sheep on track so we all pull together to get whatever needs doing done.

  • Location: Poole
  • Flock Size: 470
  • Breed Types: Poll Dorset & Dorset Horn

What do you love about wool and why do you think it’s a good fibre?

We love the self cleaning properties and the warmth a wool garment brings on a long cold winter days work.

Can you walk us through the process of shearing your flock.

As I am a contract shearer my sheep are fitted into the gaps of the diary, or kept in to be sheared on wet days.

The Woolkeepers initiative unites the wool supply chain from farm gate to shop. What do you make of this particularly in terms of giving farmers a fairer cut?

We think the traceability from farm gate to shop front is an excellent start on the marketing of wool products.

How do you manage the Animal 5 freedoms and provide details of interest?

We take pride in providing all of the animal freedoms to ensure they provide us with a fit and healthy lamb and a good wool yield with an even staple and without any breakage.

Our most challenging freedom to manage is protecting the flock from fear and distress caused by the general public and their pets.

Close the loop and find out what we made?

The Woolkeepers® initiative has captured both transparency and traceability in a unique wool assurance scheme which traces wool from farm gate to shop front. Our visibility within the supply chain ensures compliance with safety, sustainability and welfare requirements. Each time we process wool, we create a unique identifier which traces the batch back to farm, as well as forward to our customer.

This batch of wool went to a rural retailer bases in the heart of England to make home interior products.

 

 

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