Sheep Newsletter - September 2022
05 September 2022
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In this month's edition:
It’s time to weigh up the grass supply and demand on farms. On the supply side, the target in early September is to have 20 days’ grazing ahead of the flock. This needs to build up to 30 days ahead by early October to bank up grass supplies to carry into the tail end of the grazing season. Grass supplies are variable around the country.
- Check the ewe flock
Problem ewes need to be removed from the flock prior to ram turnout. Spending time checking ewe ‘fitness’ will be well rewarded next spring. Rechecking mouths, udders and assessing condition, among other areas, will invariably identify ewes that may have been previously missed.
- Keep a close eye on rams
Inspect rams regularly in the lead-up to turnout. Close attention needs to be paid to their physical soundness and any health issues. In particular, signs of infection or lameness need to be dealt with promptly, as the risk of ram infertility is always a concern.
- Lamb drafting
Lamb performance in the early part of the season was lower on many farms and as a knock-on effect lamb drafting has been slower. Assess how close to finish remaining lambs are and consider the options for short- and long-keep lambs. Many farmers will have already introduced concentrate supplementation.
- BETTER Farm Update - A mixed picture
Frank Campion, Animal & Grassland Research and Innovation Centre reports on how grass growth varied across the country on the BETTER Sheep farms. Late July and early August brought very dry conditions for most of the country, but the weather prior to this varied widely between regions, which had a knock-on effect on grass growth rates in August.
- Research Update - Growth and health
Philip Creighton, Animal & Grassland Research and Innovation Centre, Teagasc Athenry, Co. Galway reports on growth rates for both lambs and grassland on the Sheep Research Demonstration Farm. Lamb growth rates for the past month have been in the region of 161g/day (grass only) to 172g/day (grass plus white clover), with 30% of lambs drafted from grass-only groups and 36% of lambs drafted from grass plus white clover groups up to mid August.
- Health & Safety - Maintaining well-being
Well-being is vital for ongoing satisfaction with life, yet rural dwellers report lower levels of well-being than the population as a whole. Mental Health Ireland (MHI) advocates a five-step approach that anyone can follow to feel good and function.