Located in Condor Alberta, approximately 50 km west of Red Deer you will find Doug and Daena Seland’s farm. They like the area because of the beauty: the trees, the mountain views, enjoying distinct seasons and because it is home.
Doug grew up in the area on a mixed farm. At a very young age his passion for farming was evident and throughout his school age years, he gained experience in dairy learning to milk cows. His dairy experience really helped mold the skills required for livestock production and an understanding of the reproduction process.
Daena grew up in the small town of Westlock, Alberta. Her start in farming was by marrying her handsome prince who at the time she did not know that his dream was to be a farmer! Her passion and experience as a caregiver fits right in with being a farmer and raising livestock.
Three years ago, the Seland’s were looking to make some changes at their farm and saw the opportunity with lambs for the Canadian marketplace. They work on the farm together as a family with their two kids Brandt and Lexi, and have hired two full time farm hands who help look after the ewes and lambs. They consider themselves fortunate to have the help and support of their extended family who provide mentorship and guidance from their experience and knowledge raising livestock.
They have 3000 ewes that they lamb throughout the year. The breeds are of a mixed variety with a strong influence of Suffolk, Charollais and Canadian Arcott. The focus of their farm is to raise lambs to weaning and getting the ewes ready to be bred again. The lambs are then shipped to the Canada Gold lamb lot to be finished.
A day in the life of the Seland’s is a busy one, especially during lambing season. Because they lamb in groups over a short period of time, it makes for a lot of work and all hands are on deck. Their day starts out in the barn with an assessment of any lambs that are born. Then there is pen checking to all the outside lambs and ewes at each different stage of lambing or breeding. Then the ewes are fed their grain and hay and any bottle lambs are fed. After the feeding chores are finished any lamb processing is done. That could range from new born processing, vaccinating, weighing lambs or sorting ewes and lambs to various management groups. Then it is usually time for afternoon feeding and then the end to another good day on the farm.
Like many of our producers, the Seland’s believe the future of the Canadian Lamb market is exciting with lots of potential for growth and expansion. As with any industry development there are several challenges to overcome, including better education and understanding of the best care available to raise lambs. Also, the understanding of what kind of process it takes to have the lambs finished correctly and processed in a way to satisfy customer demands in the market place. Doug says, it’s definitely an industry that takes a lot of producers and processors working together to produce the best product possible.
Lamb Burgers with Brie and Prosciutto
(with VIDEO) Featuring SunGold’s Our Favourite Lamb Burger – Loaded with flavour, this gourmet lamb burger will be a hit at any barbecue party.