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Sheep Newsletter - November 2021

01 November 2021
Type Newsletter

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In this month's edition:

  • Grassland management
    The high rainfall in September and into October made proper grazing out of paddocks more challenging. The aim for November is to continue to graze out to a cover of 3.5-4.0cm, clean off pastures well and allow light to get to the base of the grass plant.
  • Keep a close eye on mating
    Monitor the progress of mating closely and see out the important task of raddling the ram to the end. It is good practice to change raddle colour weekly for the first three weeks of mating. Watch out for over marking of repeats after the first cycle to pick up any ram infertility/sub-fertility issues.
  • BETTER Farm Update - Getting the most from grass
    Frank Campion, Animal & Grassland Research and Innovation Centre, Teagasc Athenry, Co. Galway reports on grass growth and utilisation on the BETTER sheep farms. Grass growth rates and grass utilisation at the time of writing are good for most of the lowland BETTER sheep flocks, which is allowing paddocks to be grazed out properly ahead of closing for the winter.
  • Finishing lambs
    For any remaining lambs coming close to finishing, the aim is to reach the maximum carcass weight that meat processors are paying on at the time of slaughter. On the other hand, regular drafting as lambs come fit is essential to ensure the target carcass weight is not being exceeded.
  • Research Update - Mating, drafting and performance
    Philip Creighton, Animal & Grassland Research and Innovation Centre, Athenry, Co. Galway reports on the latest from the Sheep Research Demonstration Farm. Rams were turned out to ewes on October 8. Ewe BCS going to the ram averaged 3.2. Up to mid October, approximately 60% of lambs from the grass-only treatments and 68% of lambs from the grass plus white clover treatments had been drafted.
  • Health & Safety - Prevent pain by avoiding lifting
    The European Occupational Safety and Health Agency (EU-OSHA) is currently running the ‘Healthy Workplaces Lighten the Load 2020-22’ campaign. Irish farmers have very high levels of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), with 56% affected.