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Updates May 2014

Ciaran Lynch, Animal and Grassland Research and Innovation Centre, Athenry, Co Galway

Drafting is well under way on the lowland flocks with early lamb system. With no replacements being produced from these sub groups all lambs will be destined for sale. To date the flocks have between 32 and 46 % of lambs (see Table 1.) with average carcass weights ranging from 19 to 20.5 kg to date. One of these producers took the opportunity to capitalise on the milk lamb trade selling a batch of lighter lambs (drafted at 27 kg) with an average carcass weight of 12.8 kg. Drafting will be at weekly intervals on these flocks over the coming weeks as the vast majority of the remaining lambs in these flocks are 37 kg.

Table 1. Percentage of lambs drafted for sale by mid- April

 P Kearney, LouthT O'Leary, KerryJ Doyle, Wexford
Drafted (%) 44.2 46.2 32.4

All lambs on the mid -season flocks will be weighed in the coming weeks to monitor performance and assess how well the flock is performing this year to date. Lambs in these flocks have been treated for Nematodirus with a product from either the white (Benzimidazole; 1-BZ) or yellow (Levamisole; 2-LV) anthelminthic. A repeat drench was necessary on some flocks depending on the age structure of their management groups as younger lambs may not have been old enough at the time of drenching.

For the hill flocks lambing went well for the most part. A few cases of joint ill for the hill flock in Donegal proved problematic but it was confined to the first few lambed, with only limited occurrence thereafter. Once lambing is complete on the flocks we will examine the records to assess how individual S. Blackface rams performed. This information will enable us to assess the potential for improvement through genetic selection in the S. Blackface breed and will be fed into the Sheep Ireland database.