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Sheep Open Day on 21st June 2017

Teagasc Sheep Enterprise Leader, Michael Diskin said: “All aspects of sheep production will be covered at the open day. There will be a major emphasis on grass-based systems of lamb production, breeding incorporating, the indices, economic evaluations, genomic selection, and looking at low and high index rams, flock health and hill sheep production.”

A major technical day for sheep farmers will take place in Teagasc Athenry on Wednesday, 21 June this year. It will be an opportunity for flock owners to review the latest research and technical advice from Teagasc and its practical application for their home farms.

Among the highlights will be the results from the sheep research demonstration farm based in Athenry. The early results, emerging from the research trial comparing the performance of high genetic merit New Zealand ewes, (INZAC flock) with that of the best of the Irish, will also be available for farmers to scrutinise and question.

Announcing details of the event, Teagasc Sheep Enterprise Leader, Michael Diskin said: “All aspects of sheep production will be covered at the open day. There will be a major emphasis on grass-based systems of lamb production,  breeding incorporating, the indices,  economic evaluations, genomic selection, and looking at low and high index rams, flock health and hill sheep production.”

There will be a focus on the options for increasing the ouput from Hill Sheep Flocks. The starting point will be looking at the factors affecting ewe productivity and the opportuinities  through cross breeding  to produce  prolific replacements. Budgets for finishing store lambs  will be outlined and the opportunities to influnce meat quality will be highlighted. 

Michael Gottstein, Head of Sheep Knowledge Transfer in Teagasc said: “To remain competitive in light of Brexit generated sterling weakness, sheep producers need to continuously strive for technical improvements on their farms in terms of breeding, grassland management, animal health  and financial management.“

Through the Teagasc BETTER Farm Sheep Programme, the organisation has worked with both lowland and hill sheep farmers, to improve technical and financial performance on the farms. Three of these farmers will be at the open day on 21 June to tell their stories.

A series of workshops will take place covering grazing management; grass measurement; Pasture Base Ireland and fencing for sheep. Management strategies to grow and utilise more grass on sheep farmers will be outlined and the practical ways to achieve that demonstrated.

Maintaining a healthy flock is always a challenge. Tips on how to achieve that will be given at an animal health village. Areas such as parasitology, lamb mortality,  and mineral nutrition will be covered.

Advice on how to keep farmers and their families’ safe on sheep farms will be available at a Health and Safety village at the open day. Among the risks looked at will be risks from machinery; animals; zoonotic disease like toxoplasmosis and orf; and chemicals such as dips and doses.

The event opens at 11am and runs until 5.00pm. The last groups led by Teagasc advisors will commence the circuit at 2pm.