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Raising Sheep in the Panhandle

Published: Oct. 11, 2021 at 10:03 AM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Near the community of Minatare, Brittany Fulton and her family raise Polypay ewes. We stopped by her farm to learn more.

“Polypay ewes are known for their meat and wool,” Fulton said. “But they are also prolific. This means that they are able to have multiple births. A quick fact is we recently had a ewe that had quads. She had four lambs. So, that’s what they are known for. Also, something that’s kind of unique about our operation is that we do an accelerated lambing program. This means we are lambing every eight months. We do this because it works for our operation, and it’s also helpful because we are always having a lamb crop to sell at important times of the year.”

Fulton says sheep are important in the ethnic markets. “We are able to meet those holidays and those demands from the ethnic markets because we have more lambs on the ground at different times of the year,” Fulton said. “We are really close to those ethnic markets here in the western part of Nebraska. We take our lambs over to Colorado to be sold. They go there if they are going to a feedlot, or if they are going to be harvested.”

Diamond S Stock Farms is a family business. “Myself, my parents, my brother and his family, we are out here doing the work,” Fulton said. “We are all here for the lambing, we are all here to do vaccinations, we are all here to work them through the alley way, to load them to the sale barn.” Fulton says her operation is blessed by some of the natural resources nearby. “We have corn fields, sugar beet fields, and the sugar beet factory plant in Scottsbluff,” Fulton said. “That allows us to have resources on hand throughout the year. We feed by-products a lot, and this allows us to feed wet sugar beet pulp in our rations to our sheep. You also can get beet tailings. Those are pieces of the beet that are just cut off because they didn’t need them. So, they will bring a truckload out, and we feed them through our feed wagon. The sheep love them, and it’s a sweet treat for them. It’s unique that we have by-products in the area that we can utilize. They don’t go to waste, and our sheep really thrive.”

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