Our Organisation Search
Quick Links
Toggle: Topics

Teagasc National Sheep Conferences

The latest research and advice for sheep farmers will be available at the two upcoming Teagasc National Sheep Conferences. They will take place on Tuesday, 30 January, in the Loughrea Hotel and Spa, Loughrea Co. Galway and again on Thursday, 1 February, in the Nuremore Hotel, Carrickmacross, Co, Monaghan.

Teagasc National Sheep Conferences will be held on Tuesday 30 January in the Loughrea Hotel and Spa, Loughrea, Co. Galway and again on Thursday, 1 February, in the Nuremore Hotel, Carrickmacross, Co. Monaghan.

The latest research and advice for sheep farmers will be available at the two upcoming Teagasc National Sheep Conferences. They will take place on Tuesday, 30 January, in the Loughrea Hotel and Spa, Loughrea Co. Galway and again on Thursday, 1 February, in the Nuremore Hotel, Carrickmacross, Co, Monaghan.  

How to achieve more from grazing systems in sheep production will be addressed by Dr Phillip Creighton, Teagasc, Athenry. He thinks that huge potential exists on almost all sheep farms in Ireland to increase the level of grass grown and utilised.  The Grass10 programme, which is aimed at all grassland farmers, aims to increase grass ulilised on farms to 10 tonnes of grass Dry Matter per hectare per year. Philip identifies five key areas that sheep farmers should focus on: (i) Soil fertility, (ii) Field division/grazing groups, (iii) Grazing management plan, (iv) Measurement/budgeting and (v) Reseeding.

The Teagasc Sheep Research Demonstration farm at Athenry has provided 5 years of results which lays out a clear blueprint of how to profitably increase lamb output at farm level through growing and grazing more grass.

Professor Tommy Boland, from the School of Agriculture and Food Science, University College Dublin, will address ’Late pregnancy feeding of ewes’. His paper will focus on setting targets for the lambing season and subsequent lamb performance, outlining how nutritional management of the ewe during late pregnancy will allow you to achieve these targets, placing a particular emphasis on managing the forage portion of the diet during late pregnancy. Professor Boland’s paper will provide a range of easy to implement management solutions that will allow for successful management of the key late pregnancy period.

Professor Michael Diskin, Teagasc, Athenry, will present the latest results coming from a study on the impacts of leaving lambs entire, on lamb performance and subsequent meat quality. This has been a contentious issue among farmers, processors and consumers.  Results show, that ram lambs are faster growing, have leaner carcasses and are more efficient at converting feed to carcass gain which are all important production advantages. There is a greater likelihood of small increases in the occurrence of some off-flavours and odours with meat from ram lambs compared to castrated lambs.  However, differences are small and also occur with meat from a proportion of castrated lambs.  Whether farmers castrate lambs, or not, will depend on production system, flock size, and farm fencing. This study is funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and carried out by Teagasc-UCD. 

The importance of emerging diseases, often referred to as ‘iceberg diseases’ in sheep, will be addressed by Dr Fiona Lovatt, a Sheep Veterinary Consultant from England. An ‘iceberg disease’ is a term used by the medical profession to describe a disease which has a large number of undiagnosed cases, so that what is seen clinically is a small representation of the total.  In the sheep industry, it is a phrase that is generally used to describe diseases that are insidious, production-limiting, slow in onset and diagnostically challenging. The following have all been described as ‘iceberg diseases’ of sheep:  OPA (Jaagsiekte), Ovine Johnes Disease, CLA (Caseous Lymphadenitis), Maedi Visna (MV), Border Disease, TB, and Scrapie. All these diseases (except for Border Disease) are notifiable in Ireland, to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.  Dr Lovett will discuss the symptoms, survival, spread, diagnosis and control options for these increasingly important sheep diseases.

The full programme for the conferences, which commence 6pm, are available at https://www.teagasc.ie/media/website/events/2018/Sheep-Conference.pdf

The conferences are DAFM approved Knowledge Transfer sheep events.

Ends