Downland Optigain – Maintaining High Performance

In the historic grounds of Boughton House just outside Kettering, Mick Johnson has shepherded the 1,300 ewe flock on behalf of the Boughton Estate for the past 35 years. Working a New Zealand based management system, he strives towards achieving a premium at market from his commercial flock of Highlander/Aberfield & Texel crosses, reared almost completely outdoors on 1,000 acres of pasture within the 11,000 acre estate.

“Keeping the animals outside and maintaining high performance has been hard work in the last two seasons. The easy care system works in New Zealand but we miss the all-round weather. To get the best results and do it right they need a little more input, “states Mick. It is for this reason he chose Downland Optigain Sheep No Copper.


The flock spends much of the autumn and winter feeding on low quality pasture from impoverished ground, Mick encourages a flush of fresh grass prior to tupping to try to provide better quality forage at such an imperative time. Fast growing grass combined with the high rainfall of late risks further poor mineral quality of the forage. To reduce the risk of a reduction in performance and to help lift condition Mick uses Optigain during the key periods of pre-tupping and pre-lambing and finds that condition is not a problem.

Optigain was chosen following a careful review of a number of products and their associated literature, as he also provides the flock with energy buckets strategically and Vit/Min buckets all year round as he remains conscious of the varying mineral contributions. Mick found Jonathon and Danielle from Cawdell Agrihealth had the best product in Optigain along with the important knowledge to support its use. “We can achieve a good balance of what is not in the grass while not tipping the balance towards providing too much” adds Mick.

This seasons Lambs are due at the end of March and Mick has started to look forward. “The ewes are in such good condition that we don’t expect any problems during lambing so I’m not concerned due to the breed. However, the new lambs will be kicking around on poor quality grass and we always see a general lag at weaning.” For this reason Mick will be making the most of his weeklong job of worming and fly control by taking the opportunity to feed Optigain as well.


Driving amongst the flock Mick tells Danielle from Cawdell Agrihealth that due to the established breeding programme, the flocks condition and shape this year he is confident to achieve a high level of the desired 30p premium at market due to the overall animal quality and high class carcasses. Mick is aiming for Top Quartile Performance.

Optigain provides ewes and rams with key vitamins and trace elements required for support of optimal condition and will also support natural immunity via a unique combination of natural Vitamin E, Selenium and a full complement of nutrients required to help support on-going performance in:




Optigain is available from your local Downland retailer, for further information click here  or call 01228 564498 for further details.

30th March 2016