Grant Award: $6,000 — Complete Sheep Working/Handling Facility
Josh and Brooke built a working facility for their Katahdin sheep for more ease and safety when handling the animals. The facility promotes efficiencies that have allowed them to increase their flock from 38 breeding ewes to 65, and increase lamb production from 70 to 100-plus market lambs. They anticipate an increase in profit by at least 30 percent.
The working facility, with a 41-foot by 18-foot metal roofed shed, includes a tilt/turn table corral system that makes it easier to administer vaccines, tag animals, trim feet and worm the sheep. The corral system minimizes stress on the animals by keeping them in one confined area when working them. The facility also has a 24-foot by 12-foot slant shed off the side of the metal roofed shed to feed hay, minerals and grain in a dry graveled area.
Josh and Brooke are also buying a portable 3.5-ton grain cart so they can buy grain in bulk, which saves $6-7 per 50 pounds of grain. A scale determines when lambs are at selling weight. They are also purchasing a loading chute so that buyers can pick up the lambs on the farm. If the Postells don’t travel to sell the animals, they are not only saving in fuel costs but also preventing loss of pounds per lamb due to travel stress.
After 10 years of developing their flock, Josh and Brooke now have fair winning animals. They have sold registered and commercial ram and ewe lambs, yearling ram and ewes, and adult ram and ewes since 2007. A dozen individuals also purchase full-sized animals for grass-fed lamb meat.
Josh and Brooke’s goals are to continue building and grow their farm and profitability. “Also, it is very important for us to raise our kids with farm values that will instill hard work and determination in them,” says Josh.