Sheep Newsletter - August 2022
Get the latest information & advice from the Teagasc Sheep team in the August newsletter including: Grassland management, Minimising lameness, Preparing rams for mating season, Take care with machinery, BETTER farm update - Grass quality challenges, Research update: Lambs thriving in good conditions
In this month's edition:
- Grassland management
Prioritise the best grass available on the farm to lambs and thinner ewes where body condition score (BCS) needs to be improved before breeding. Once lambs have been weaned for a few weeks, it can be more practical to graze the group of thin ewes along with a lamb group that are not being fed concentrates, in order to reduce the number of grazing groups. It’s also important to focus on building grass reserves for the autumn/winter grazing period. The target is to have 20 grazing days ahead by the end of August.
- Minimising lameness
When carrying out the usual soundness for breeding checks on the ewe flock, take the opportunity to separate out any lame ewes. If you close a gate to separate the last batch of sheep to reach the handling yard, you will find the majority of lameness cases are in this group
- Preparing rams for mating season
As rams can lose up to 15% body condition during mating, it is important to assess them in time and plan to build their body condition up to 3.5-4.0 at turnout
- Health & Safety - Take care with machinery
August is harvest month with a lot of machinery movement on farms and on public roads, including trailers, balers and silage gear. Machinery movement brings danger, particularly to bystanders including children and older farmers.
- BETTER farm update - Grass quality challenges
Frank Campion reports from the BETTER Sheep Farms. All of the lowland flocks’ lambs have been weaned since late June/early July, and at this stage the summer grazing rotation is in full swing, with lambs grazing out paddocks to approximately 6cm and ewes following behind them. The performance to weaning across the flocks this year was for the most part behind previous years
- Research update: Lambs thriving in good conditions
Fiona McGovern, Animal & Grassland Research and Innovation Centre, Teagasc Athenry, Co. Galway reports on the latest from the INZAC and breeding flocks farmed there. Grass growing conditions are at an optimum for the time of year here in Athenry. Grass growth is currently 60kg DM/ha, with a demand of 35kg DM/ha. All lambs in the INZAC flock were weaned on June 13, at approximately 98 days of age.
UPCOMING EVENT The annual Sheep Ireland LambPlus Elite Multi-Breed €uroStar Ram Sale 2022 takes place on Saturday, August 27 in Tullamore Mart, Co. Offaly, with the sale starting at 11.30am. Over 350 rams are expected to be on offer and all entries will be five-star on the replacement and/or terminal index, as well as being genotyped and sire verified
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