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Sheep Newsletter - August 2021

01 August 2021
Type Newsletter

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In this month's edition:

  • Grassland management
    Continue to offer the best grass available on the farm to lambs and thinner ewes where body condition score needs to be improved before breeding. Once lambs have been weaned for three to four weeks, it can be more practical to graze the group of thin ewes along with lambs. It’s also important to focus on building grass reserves for the autumn/winter grazing period.
  • Lamb performance
    Keep a close eye on lamb performance – ideally lambs are being finished off high-quality grass with at least fortnightly drafting. It is important to take stock of remaining lambs on the farm and consider the market outlets. Contact your local advisor to further discuss the options – finishing, selling as stores/ewe replacements, or a combination of both.
  • BETTER Farm Update - Performance and dosing
    Frank Campion of the Animal & Grassland Research and Innovation Centre, Athenry, Co. Galway reports on lamb weights and FECs on the BETTER sheep farms. The lowland flocks were weaned in late June/early July and, as with any group, performance varied but was generally good across the flocks. All the flocks are also monitoring faecal egg counts (FECs) to assess when it is necessary to dose. Samples are being taken fortnightly and once egg counts exceed 500 eggs per gram, then lambs are being dosed with the appropriate anthelmintic.
  • Anthelminthic product effectiveness
    As highlighted in the BETTER Farm update, participant farmers are collecting faecal samples from lambs every two weeks to carry out FECs in order to determine the need to dose for stomach worms. A group faecal sample is a good indicator of when FECs are likely to impact on lamb performance and can eliminate unnecessary treatments when FECs remain below 500 eggs per gram.
  • Research Update - Increasing grass growth after a slow start
    Edel O'Connor, PhD student, Animal & Grassland Research and Innovation Centre, Teagasc, Athenry, Co. Galway reports on the INZAC Flock at Athenry. Grass growing conditions have returned to optimum levels here in Athenry since the last update. Grass growth is currently 66kg DM/ha, with a demand of 35kg DM/ha.
  • Health & Safety - Beware of moving machinery
    August is harvest month and a lot of machinery is moving on farms and public roads, including trailers, balers and silage gear. Movement brings danger, particularly to bystanders, including children and older farmers.