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BETTER Hill Sheep Farm Walk with Patrick Dunne


Join us on Wednesday, 27th July at 6:30pm on the farm of Patrick Dunne, Glenmalure, Co. Wicklow for a hill sheep farm walk. Patrick is a participant in the BETTER Farm Sheep Programme. Find out how the farm is progressing and get details on this year's flock performance and health and more.

Topics for discussion

Topics to be discussed include:

  • Flock performance
  • Flock health
  • Results from the SUAS EIP project 

About Patrick Dunne's Farm

The sheep enterprise on Patrick’s farm is split into 2 separate units. He maintains a 230 strong hill ewe flock plus replacements grazing commonage ground in Glenmalure and a separate 200 mid-season lowland ewe flock plus replacements on his home farm some 7km away alongside a 20 head suckler cow herd. The home block consists of 130 acres between owned and rented ground.

Since Joining the BETTER farm programme in 2015 there have been some considerable changes to Patrick’s sheep farming system. The introduction of a separate lowland flock and a change in approach to his hill sheep system has developed during this period.

The Hill Flock

The focus in the hill system was to reduce the overall ewe numbers slightly and produce a ewe that fitted the system better. This required a two pronged approach. Firstly some Blackface ewes were introduced to the flock and latterly a Lanark type ram was mated to a proportion of the Cheviot ewes to produce crossbreds that are now being back crossed to a Cheviot in a reciprocal system. Secondly, Patrick started selecting his replacements with more emphasis placed on keeping replacements from ewes that were delivering in the system (i.e. were able to rear lambs on the hill), and culled harder on those that didn’t, or instead put them to a terminal ram.

PDunne Better farmer Wicklow

The Lowland Flock

Patrick's lowland flocks consists of Suffolk-X, Belclare-X and Llyen-X ewes that are managed completely separate to his hill ewes. This self-contained flock produced its own replacements and finished the remaining lambs to the factory. 

You might also like to read Split system developed in the Wicklow hills  

Get more information on the farm of Patrick Dunne  |  Find out more about the BETTER Farm Sheep Programme

The Teagasc Sheep Specialists, Researchers and Teagasc Advisors issue an article on a topic of interest to sheep farmers on Tuesdays here on Teagasc Daily.  Find more on Teagasc Sheep here  Teagasc provides a Local Advisory and Education service to farmers. Find your local Teagasc office here