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Virtual Hill Sheep Conference 2021

Event Time 8pm
Venue Online

The Teagasc Virtual Hill Sheep Conference will take place across two evenings, Wednesday, 17th February and Thursday, 18th February, as a Zoom webinar between 8pm and 9pm.

Wednesday, 17th February | 8pm

Hill Sheep Performance on a Better Farm
David McLaughlin, Hill Sheep Farmer, Donegal with John Cannon, Teagasc Advisor 

David McLaughlin farms with his wife Linda and their family in Hillhead, Greencastle, Co. Donegal.  The McLaughlin’s run sheep and suckler cow enterprises on the farm with the sheep flock divided into hill and lowland flocks.  They have been participants in the BETTER farm Sheep Programme since 2008 and have demonstrated clearly over the years that the targets set for both hill and lowland farms are consistently achievable through application of appropriate technologies and management strategies.

Currently a Teagasc Business and Technology adviser in Letterkenny, John is originally from a Sheep farm in West Donegal. He graduated from UCD in 1978 with a B. Agr. Sc. Degree and has worked as drystock adviser in Donegal since then. Since graduating he has added a M.Agr. Sc. in Environmental Science and an MBA to his credentials and availed of a study trip to New Zealand. While many of his clients have both sheep and sucklers John has been leading the Teagasc sheep advisory team in Donegal for the last 12 years. John does a lot his advisory work is done via discussion groups. He set up his first discussion group in 1999 and is currently working with five sheep groups and one suckler group. He has been sheep adviser to David and Linda McLaughlin during their period in the Teagasc Sheep BETTER farm Programme. 

Generating flock books for hill flocks
Kevin McDermott, Sheep Ireland  

Kevin McDermott is the Sheep Ireland manager. Sheep Ireland is the national body responsible for improving the rate of genetic gain in the Irish Sheep Industry. Growing up on a sheep and beef farm near Moville, Co. Donegal, Kevin pursued a career in agriculture by graduating from UCD in 2011 with a degree in Animal & Crop Production. Following this, he completed a research Masters in ewe and lamb nutrition in late pregnancy at the UCD Lyons Research Farm.

Since joining Sheep Ireland in 2013, Kevin has focused on improving the rate of genetic gain in Ireland via improved genetic evaluations, better performance recording infrastructure, and farmer education. Significant strides have been made, and lessons learnt in each of these areas to date, specifically in the lowland sector.

The hill sector is currently under-represented in the national breed improvement programme as there is less of an underlying breeding structure compared to the lowland sector. This is something he would like to see change, and some new initiatives and technologies have recently started to do just that. These will serve as examples of what can be achieved via parentage recording and genotyping in pedigree hill flocks.


Thursday, 18th February | 8pm

Ticks & tickborne diseases in Ireland
Annette Zintl, University College Dublin (UCD)

Annetta is a zoology graduate of Trinity College Dublin, Ireland, where she also completed her PhD at the Departments of Zoology and Biochemistry. Following this, she worked for several years as a post-doctoral and Newman fellow in the Veterinary Sciences Centre, University College Dublin. Annetta currently teaches veterinary immunology and parasitology to veterinary medicine and veterinary nursing students as a lecturer in Parasitology and Immunology at the UCD School of Veterinary Sciences in University College Dublin. Her research interests focus on the epidemiology, detection, transmission and control of various parasites with the chief aim of investigating their importance for animal and/or human health in Ireland. Her long-term research interests are common and emerging parasites of livestock and ticks and tick-borne diseases.

The Importance of monitoring Body condition in pregnant ewes
Liz Genever, Independent Beef and Sheep Consultant, UK

Liz Genever has a strong technical background and works with beef and sheep farmers across the UK. Her knowledge covers livestock production, grazing systems and sustainable farming techniques. She works with farmers who want to challenge their current practices., particularly on grass and forage utilisation. She is one of the founders of Carbon Calling, which has the aim of building a community of farmers who support and learn from one another to make their farm and themselves healthier and happier.  

She is a farmer on a mixed farm in south Lincolnshire and has an Australian Cattle Dog called Scout.