Philip Creighton, Animal and Grassland Research and Innovation Centre, Teagasc, Athenry, Co Galway
All ewes are now housed. As mentioned in last month’s update grass supplies were lower this autumn and so the last of the ewes in the two low stocking rate groups were housed in mid-December (December 15th). This is 2 to 3 weeks ahead of normal. Ewes were weighed and condition scored as they came into the shed and BCS has improved since mating ranging from 3.4 (high stocking rate) to 3.6 (low stocking rate). Grass growth on the paddocks closed since late October/early November has been good with covers of 550-600 kg dm/ha (5/5.5cm) now present but this grass will be of more benefit next March than grazed now. Total grass grown for the year has averaged 13 tons grass dm/ha. Ewes will be scanned in early January. Lamb drafting is almost complete with 96%, 93% and 90% of lambs in the low, medium, and high sr groups drafted up to mid December.