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Sheep Newsletter - October 2021


This month's Sheep Newsletter includes information on: grassland management; analysing winter forage; lime; sheep scab; BETTER Farm Update - A new production year; mating management; liver fluke; Research Update - INZAC flock Athenry; and Health & Safety - Check lighting and electrical switches.

View it here: Sheep Newsletter - October 2021 (PDF)

In this month's edition:

  • Grassland management
    Short of grass last spring? Do something about it for the coming spring and close up your paddocks earlier. Most of the grass available in the spring will grow during the October to December period, so if you want to have grass next spring you need to keep this grass over the winter.
  • Analyse winter forage
    Concentrate feed prices have gone up dramatically. Get your different batches of forage analysed so that you can use the best quality forage in the last six weeks of pregnancy to reduce concentrate feed requirements.
  • Lime
    At the time of writing ground conditions are still very good, so it is an ideal time to apply lime to areas that are deficient. As fertiliser prices have increased dramatically, investing in lime to correct soil pH is more important than ever. The lime will have paid for itself several times over by this time next year.
  • Sheep scab
    Avoid using injectable macrocyclic lactones when treating sheep for sheep scab as this also inadvertently treats stomach worms and puts extra pressure on selecting for resistant stomach worms. Plunge dipping is the best option for the control of external parasites in sheep. If you don’t have a dipping tank on the farm there are a number of mobile plunge dip operators who travel from farm to farm. 
  • BETTER Farm Update - A new production year
    Frank Campion, Animal & Grassland Research and Innovation Centre, Teagasc Athenry, Co. Galway. October signals the beginning of the next production year on most of the lowland BETTER sheep farms, with ewes being joined to rams and farms starting to put their autumn closing plan into action. 
  • Mating management
    Use a raddle on your rams to guard against infertility. Anecdotal reports from pedigree flocks using AI suggest more issues with ram fertility this August. It is important that colours are changed at least every two weeks so that the number of repeat ewes can be identified.
  • Liver fluke
    Do you routinely treat sheep for liver fluke? It is useful to check if sheep need to be treated at all. If you are sending lambs or cull ewes for slaughter you should check to see if the livers are showing signs of liver fluke infection.
  • Research Update - INZAC flock Athenry
    Edel O’Connor, PhD student, Animal & Grassland Research and Innovation Centre, Teagasc Athenry, Co. Galway. Mating is underway for the 2022 season. Grass growing conditions have remained consistent since my last update: average grass growth over the past few weeks has been 77kg DM/day, with 31 days ahead.
  • Health & Safety - Check lighting and electrical switches
    The clocks go back on Sunday, October 31, which brings shorter daylight time. In advance of this check your farmyard lighting. Bulbs may need replacing and fluorescent covers may need cleaning to maximise light output. To prevent trips and falls, make sure that all walkways are well lit and free of trip hazards.