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Teagasc Sheep Conferences

The opportunities for farmers to improve their returns from sheep farming will be the main focus of three Teagasc National Sheep Conferences in February. The sector is facing into 2016 on an optimistic note, but the opportunity for technical improvements in on-farm production is still there to be exploited.

The Teagasc National Sheep Conferences will take place on Tuesday, 2 February in Ballinasloe, County Galway and on Thursday, 4 February in Gorey, County Wexford. These are followed by a Teagasc Hill Sheep Conference on Wednesday, 17 February in Ballybofey in County Donegal. All conferences start at 5 pm and run until 7.30pm.

Speaking in advance of the conferences, Michael Gottstein, Head of Sheep Knowledge Transfer in Teagasc said: “We will be discussing the possibility of accelerating genetic improvement in the Irish sheep flock, with an update provided on the research work being carried out at the Teagasc Animal & Grassland Research and Innovation Centre in Athenry. The best genetics from New Zealand is currently being evaluated in Athenry and Irish genetics benchmarked against it.”

There will be a presentation on the effect that stocking rate and prolificacy have on the overall profitability of lowland sheep enterprises. Ben Anthony and Diana Fairclough, from the Farming Connect focus farm in Wales, will be sharing their experiences of ‘Setting up a profitable sheep farm’.

Budgeting and setting targets for finishing hill lambs will be discussed by Professor Michael Diskin, Teagasc sheep enterprise leader, at the Hill Sheep conference in Ballybofey, County Donegal. There will also be papers on sustainably controlling liver fluke in sheep on hill farms. The importance of managing upland habitats on these farms will also be addressed.