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December 2016

Philip Creighton, Animal and Grassland Research and Innovation Centre, Teagasc Athenry, Co Galway

Rams were removed from flocks on 21st of November after a 6 week mating period. Repeat numbers appear to be low but we will have to wait until scanning to get a more accurate picture of performance. At this point (22nd Nov) lamb drafting percentages stand at 87% for low stocking rate groups (10 ewe/ha), 86% for the medium (12 ewe/ha) and 79% for the high (14 ewe/ha) stocking rate groups. Remaining lambs in the low and medium stocking rate groups joined the high stocking rate lambs in the shed on November 10th. The decision to house was based on reducing grass supply. Their average daily gain had improved to 150g/day on grass and 0.5kg concentrates/hd/day as per last months update. The performance of the high stocking rate lambs improved after a period of adjustment post housing to average 210g/day on 0.8kg concentrates and grass silage. Lamb kill-out proportion has improved to between 44 and 46% for the lambs drafted over the past month. Grass growth rates have dropped to 11kg DM/ha/day in late November. Due to the lower grass covers built up this autumn all groups will be housed 2 to 3 weeks earlier than normal in late November and December this year.