The principal function of the breed is to utilise the hill and mountain grazing of the British Isles to best advantage, producing store lambs which are suitable for short or long keep, finishing off grass, rape, turnips or in-shed.
Off better hill grazing, many lambs are sold prime direct off their mothers at carcase weights of 15-19 kgs. The smaller hill lamb is ideal for the markets of Italy and Spain, which require carcase weights of 8-12 kgs. Blackface lamb is naturally reared, symbolising the purity and goodness of the land and has a reputation for its unrivalled sweet flavour and tenderness. Available from September onwards, it is without doubt ' naturally good '.
Of equal importance, the Blackface is at the summit of the pyramid of stratification of the British sheep industry. The hills produce a reservoir of females, which are drafted to marginal or upland farms either as ewe lambs or five or six year old ewes, where they are crossed with a Bluefaced Leicester to produce the ever popular Scotch Mule Ewe, or a Border Leicester to produce the Greyface Ewe.
Crossed with a terminal sire, the blackface ewe produces a quality prime lamb, or a store lamb for finishing.