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Updates September 2014

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

The first part of the breeding season went well for the three flocks with early lamb. Single sire mating was used on each of the 3 flocks. This provided an opportunity to establish parentage of next year’s lambs and evaluate individual sires the information feeing into the Sheep Ireland Database . This is part of an on-going project on the BETTER farms that will allow the index to be evaluated on commercial farms and help improve it for the coming seasons.

For the mid-season flock a final selection of ewe lamb replacements will be made in September. On all the farms the aim is to have the ewe flocks in good condition at joining particular attention is being paid to ewes in poor condition with these being drafted off and managed with replacement ewe lambs in many cases to give them preferential treatment. Thinner ewes that fail to improve in condition will be selected for culling.

A summary of the results of the Fecpak analysis from samples submitted during August From the BETTER farms is presented in Table 1. Counts have remained low overall but a number of farms have seen a rapid increase in worm count for individual groups during August.

In addition to Parasitic gastro-enteritis (PGE) burden liver fluke eggs have been detected in samples from lambs on 3 of the BETTER farm Flocks, Kerry, Leitrim and Donegal. Each of these flocks have treated lambs for fluke infestation.

Table 1. Results of Fecpak analysis on BETTER Farm flocks in June

 Nematodirus (epg)Strongyles (epg)
 AverageRange (min to max)AverageRange (min to max)
Count 38 0 to 165 321 15 to 1150