Romy Schill on her sheep farm.

First generation sheep farmers find success in all sheep market opportunities

The Schill family is growing the CircleR flock while supplying meat and wool markets from their farm

Ryan and Romy Schill have big plans for their farm as they embrace many markets for their sheep products. The Schills, first generation sheep farmers, sell breeding stock around Ontario, lamb for the meat market and wool and wool products out of their farm store and at local and province-wide markets. Why it matters: The […] Read more

Jennifer MacTavish, general manager of Ontario Sheep Farmers, encouraged producers attending the recent Grey-Bruce Farmers’ Week to help with the EweGROW project by providing much-needed data.

Data needed to drive Ontario sheep industry forward

Producers have been reluctant to provide even aggregated data for the EweGROW program

The general manager of Ontario Sheep Farmers (OSF) had strong messages for producers gathered at the recent Grey-Bruce Farmers’ Week. “We haven’t had the really hard conversations about where we want the industry to go,” Jennifer MacTavish said. This has resulted in inefficiencies along the supply chain and an unwillingness to commit to and invest […] Read more

Ewes can be fed a ‘flushing’ diet in the weeks before breeding that will get them into better condition to conceive.

Getting ewes and rams ready for their big date

Feeding ewes and rams more before breeding periods has a high return on investment

Ram and ewe fertility both can be improved with targeted and timely bumps in nutrition. At the recent Ontario Sheep Convention Richard Ehrhardt of Michigan State University shared his tips for making sure rams are ready for successful breeding and that ewes are healthy enough to successfully carry a lamb. Why it matters: Sheep farming […] Read more

Marc Carere acclaimed as Sheep Farmers of Ontario chair

Heather Little and John Hemsted are the new vice-chairs of the organization

Ontario Sheep Farmers elected its officers for 2018-19 and recognized the achievements of some of its members at its recent annual general meeting in Alliston. District 7 director Marc Carere was acclaimed as chair. Carere, his wife Helen and son Matt operate Ballinahistle Farms, a large commercial ewe flock and lamb feedlot. He replaces Rob […] Read more

Vince Stutzki, left, Mike Swidersky and Jim Bennett talked about their sheep farms at the recent Ontario 
Sheep Convention.

Different routes to sheep farm growth

A recent panel of farmers who manage their sheep differently shows there are many routes to success

There isn’t one model of success in the sheep sector. In fact, producers have taken many routes to growing their flocks. Farmers at the recent Sheep Farmers of Ontario annual convention heard from three successful producers who have taken different routes — one with minimal buildings and investment, one with a converted dairy barn providing […] Read more


Ontario beef farmers are losing $200 to $300 per head.

Livestock price drop being felt by farmers

An August drop in prices in pork and beef mean losses across the province

The drop in the livestock markets in the past couple of months is concerning because the factors that created it show little sign of abating. “I think if we saw an end in sight, we’d ride through it,” said Joe Hill, president of the Beef Farmers of Ontario. “Unfortunately this is more than just (the […] Read more

Editorial: Optimism for sheep farmers

Sheep farming has always been a tough grind. Sheep are not the heartiest of beasts, lambing is a thankless and tiring job and the market has been fickle. But several years of decent lamb prices in Ontario have created optimism I haven’t seen for a long time. The Large Flock Operators group (made up of […] Read more

This bale handler helps the Steele family manage a large number of sheep on multiple properties, mostly outdoors.

Made at home inventions can be best — and cheapest

The Steele family manages 2,000 ewes on multiple properties near Norwood, Ont., and it has had to find innovative ways to feed them. The farm uses 850 acres on 15 properties in the area. That means moving feed and animals around. Five greenhouse shelters are on the farm, most dating back 20 years, but they […] Read more


John Steele uses data to determine many of the decisions on his farm, including selection of these ram lambs.

Data management solutions abound for sheep

Farmers can mix and match data readers, sorters and software for labour saving and management decisions

Norwood-area farmers John and Eadie Steele have been using electronic identification to identify and manage the data for their 2,000-ewe flock for 15 years. However, many other sheep farms, often smaller, are not yet using technology to reduce labour, and increase and improve their management information. That’s why the Large Flock Operators group featured a […] Read more

Shepherd Gourmet Dairy has filled niche markets for sheep’s milk products and Skyr yogurt.

Saputo buys St. Marys’ Shepherd Gourmet

Canada’s largest milk processor is purchasing a supplier of niche yogurt and feta cheese based in St. Marys, Ont. Saputo is buying Shepherd Gourmet Dairy Inc. for $100 million. Shepherd Gourmet employs about 90 people. Shepherd Gourmet was founded by Stewart Cardiff when he saw a niche in the processing of alternative cheeses and yogurts […] Read more