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Updates January 2014

BETTER Farm Update: Ciaran Lynch, AGRIC, Athenry

E-Profit monitor

In January all of the farmers in the programme with their advisors will complete their E-profit monitor for 2013. By completing the profit monitors it provides a means to critically assess the performance of the farm business. For the new flocks it will allow us to examine the strengths and weaknesses of the systems and where improvement is needed. For the existing farms it provides an opportunity to scrutinize the impact of chances to the farming system have had on profitability.

Early lamb flocks

Three of the flocks in the programme are operating an early lamb component as part of their sheep enterprise. The scale of the operation on the farms varies from 40 to 151 ewes joined. For all flocks mating was synchronised, with only one of the flocks allowing an opportunity for repeat mating. The scan results are summarised in Table 1. Some issues did arise for one of the flocks with a low pregnancy rate, on examination of the records this was attributed to ram fertility issues. In all cases ewes that did not conceive to the early lamb dates were included as part of the mid-season component on the respective farms.

Table 1. Scanning results for the early lamb flocks 2013/14 season

Number of ewes joined 151 40 49
Scanned litter size 1.86 1.79 2.22
Scanned pregnancy rate 78.1 97.5 46.9
Scanning rate 1.46 1.75 1.04
Number of service 1 2 1

Mid-season Flocks

This season due to the surplus growth this autumn/winter off farm grazing was available in many parts of the country. A number of the mid season flocks took advantage of this during late November and December. This allowed them to delay housing for a proportion of the flocks for a number of weeks. The flocks began scanning in late December with the later lambing ones and those that joined ewe lambs completing scanning in January.

Hill Flocks

With mating finished all rams removed from ewes in December. For these flocks the ewes will spend late December January grazing on the mountain areas. They will be gathered for scanning from late January onward.