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Early Lamb Systems?


With the breeding season kicking off, this week’s OviCast discusses the pros, cons and alternatives to early lambing systems. In this episode, Ciaran Lynch is joined by Shane Moore, who is farming just outside Athleague in Co. Roscommon and Michael Gottstein, Head of Sheep in Teagasc.

Michael starts by outlining the key dates and requirements for early lambing systems for 2021 while Shane explains he has run an early lamb system for many years. He discusses why it initially suited his system and why he has moved away from it in recent years as sheep numbers increased on his farm. One of the challenges that Shane’s early lamb system presented was the increasing cost and conversely the declining returns.

Early lamb is characterised by a high sale price but Michael takes us through the economics of this system and some of the hidden costs involved. As early sales provide a valuable source of cash flow on many dry stock farms, Shane discusses how he will offset this with a switch to carrying over light lambs for the hogget trade next spring. Meeting a continual supply is an important issue for the industry and Michael discusses the role of store lambs carried over as a way to meet this demand and how this practice is gaining popularity on many farms.

Listen to previous episodes here: OviCast Sheep Podcast