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Opportunities to Grow Sheep Sector - Teagasc Sheep Conference

Sheep output in Ireland was worth €209 million in 2012 but there is still significant scope to improve output on sheep farms in Ireland. At the Teagasc National Sheep Conference in Kilkenny today, Wednesday, 6 February, farmers heard how opportunities exist to improve animal health on sheep farms. The best strategies to meet the nutrient requirements of the breeding ewe and lambs were also outlined. The poor quality of forage on farms, arising from the wet weather last summer, is causing some difficulties on farms. Greater care is needed this year in providing sufficient supplementation to meet the nutrient requirements of the ewes pre- lambing.

Teagasc Enterprise Leader Michael Diskin said that there is a growing, real and substantial threat at farm level of anthelmintic resistance increasing in sheep flocks. There is a need for new dosing strategies to maintain the effectiveness and the efficacy of the products available.

Details of the new Sheep Technology Adoption Programme were outlined by local Teagasc Adviser Terry Carroll. Michael Gottstein, Head of Teagasc Sheep Knowledge Transfer programme said; “Discussion groups have been independently shown to increase productivity and profit levels in other farming enterprises. The same opportunity and incentive is now open to sheep farmers to avail of. This is an important scheme for sheep producers and has the potential to deliver much more than just €1,000 payment per member, through the adoption of new technologies on participating farms.”

Today’s conference included sessions on animal health, sheep nutrition, marketing and policy. The Teagasc National Sheep Conference is taking place again tomorrow Thursday, 7 February in the McWilliam Park Hotel, Claremorris. Both conferences are sponsored by MSD Animal Health, Connolly Red Mills and Connacht Gold.