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Sheep Newsletter - January 2022

05 January 2022
Type Newsletter

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In this month's edition:

  • Fertiliser
    Fertiliser prices have increased dramatically since last spring. Your 2021 fertiliser budget will probably only purchase between 40% and 50% of the tonnage for the coming year. Do a budget, look at your 2021 spend and see how much you are willing to spend in 2022.
  • Lime
    Check soil sample results. Spread any lime required as soon as possible. Spreading lime will improve grass growth in the coming year by releasing nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) that has been locked up in the soil.
  • Grass
    Strong autumn grass growth has left significant covers on fields that were closed in October. Don’t be tempted to graze these off again. Keep this grass for ewes after lambing time.
  • Concentrate feed
    The National Farm Survey shows a dramatic increase in concentrate usage on sheep farms. Concentrate feed costs are estimated to have risen by 40% in 2021 as a result of an increase in concentrate feed prices and a 20% increase in concentrate usage. 
  • Forage testing
    If not already done, get your winter forage tested as soon as possible. Allocate the best-quality forage to ewes in the last six weeks of pregnancy.
  • Sheep Census
    Don’t forget to complete and submit your annual Sheep Census return. The date of the annual census is December 31. A lot of money hinges on this form being completed and submitted on time. Deadline for postal returns is January 31. Flock owners opting to return their census online have until February 14 to do so.
  • Research Update - Sheep Research Demonstration Farm
    Philip Creighton of the Animal & Grassland Research and Innovation Centre, Teagasc Athenry, Co. Galway reports on mating and drafting. Rams were removed from ewes in mid November following a five-week mating period. The majority of 2021 lambs have now been drafted.
  • BETTER Farm Update - Feeding plans
    Frank Campion of the Animal & Grassland Research and Innovation Centre, Athenry, Co. Galway reports on winter feeding plans on the BETTER sheep farms. A vital part of a winter feeding plan is to know the quality of what you’re feeding and the BETTER farmers are currently getting the analysis of their silage samples back. 
  • Health & Safety - Prepare to cut risk
    Research by Teagasc indicates that rushing and tiredness are major causal factors of farm workplace injuries, so good preparation is essential to cut risks. The coming weeks provide an opportunity for farm maintenance and making health and safety improvements before the busy spring season.