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Key management tips for June on sheep farms

Key management tips for June on sheep farms

Teagasc Sheep Specialist, Ciaran Lynch provides some key advice on grassland management, blowfly control measures, plans for weaning and shearing for the month of June.

Grassland management

Grass demand has been increasing. By June, most March-born lambs will be eating 1.0-1.2kg DM per day, and competing with ewes for the best pasture.

Aim for a pre-grazing yield of 1,250-1,500kg DM/ha, or 7-9cm, grazing to a residual of 4.5cm. Target a short residency period during June, e.g., three to four days per paddock. Achieve this by reducing grazing area with temporary divisions, increasing grazing group size, or including cattle.

Depending on demand, fertiliser applications should continue in June, with a guideline of a further 12-18kg/ha (10-15 units/ac). Split applications may be wise depending on stocking rate.

Many farms had to graze silage late on, and harvest has been delayed, which may impact on silage quality. Plan to cut about six to seven weeks after closing up, with a suitable level of fertiliser.

Are blowfly control measures in place?

Implement protective measures in time, before blowfly strike occurs. Having these in place early will help reduce the fly population on your farm and the risk for later in the season. Be aware of how different products work, the period of cover they provide and withdrawal date, especially when treating forward lambs. Ewes will need to be treated in a timely manner post shearing. Correct application procedure is essential to product efficacy.

Teagasc Sheep Specialist, Damian Costello joined Ciaran Lynch on a recent episode of the OviCast podcast, where he provided key information on blowfly control.

Listen in below:

Plans for weaning

It’s time to start planning for where the freshly-weaned lambs and ewes will be grazed. Having access to bare paddock for ewes and high-quality grass for lambs will require some planning. Keep on top of health issues by having treatments in place for internal and external parasites, and lameness. Do your vaccinations, and have mineral supplementation (where needed) up to date prior to weaning to reduce any setbacks.

Most flocks should aim to have their lambs weaned by 14 weeks of age. In certain cases, weaning lambs earlier, i.e., from 10 to 12 weeks of age, is a useful management tool. This is particularly helpful with yearling ewes or thin ewes to allow them extra time to recover condition. It also has the potential to benefit farms in areas prone to drought to reduce overall feed demand earlier and enable them to prioritise grazing for weaned lambs.


Having some preparation in place before shearing will make the process easier on all involved and help improve the quality of the wool harvested. Here are some areas to consider.

  1. Sheep must be dry for shearing. Where necessary, house on slats or on bedding that has accumulated over a winter, as opposed to bedding on fresh straw, as it will get stuck in the fleece.
  2. Fast beforehand and separate lambs from ewes before shearing.
  3. Remove dags.
  4. Ensure there is no straw or shavings in the holding pen, as this can stick to the fleece and more than halve returns.
  5. Keep coloured fleeces separate when packing.

Jayne Harkness-Bones, Depot Manager with Ulster Wool, joined Ciaran on this week’s OviCast to discuss the factors that influence the quality of wool, the challenges in the marketplace in recent years and what happens to the wool from purchase until it reaches market.

Listen in below:

This article first appeared in the Teagasc Sheep Advisory Newsletter for June. Access the full publication here.