Sheep Newsletter - April 2023
12 April 2023
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In this month's edition:
- Grassland management
- Nitrogen applications
When applying nitrogen (N), there are significant savings that can be made by spreading urea as opposed to CAN.
- Grouping up lambs
Grassland management is simplified and more grass is grown where the number of grazing groups are kept to a minimum. Keep this in mind when running several different groups of ewes and lambs.
- Silage ground
Aim to fully graze out silage ground before closing up. This will remove all the old grass and facilitate new growth that will result in higher quality silage.
- Nitrogen applications
- Drafting early lambs
Monitor kill-out rates for early lamb production systems. Well fleshed lambs killed prior to weaning can yield 50% or greater; however, once weaned this will begin to drop.
- Liming subsidy
The liming subsidy scheme closes on April 20. The scheme provides a subsidy of €16 per tonne for up to 200 tonnes of lime. Applications can be made through Agfood.ie.
- Grass tetany control
Grass tetany is a condition that affects lactating ewes and is frequently fatal. The condition is caused by magnesium deficiency. Magnesium is not stored in the body to any great extent; consequently, lactating ewes need to be supplemented with magnesium daily. Each lactating ewe requires about 1-2g of magnesium per day.
- Nematodirus control
Nematodirus battus is the first worm that lambs will encounter in spring. These worms overwinter on pasture and hatch in huge numbers once weather conditions allow (a period of warmer weather). We currently have not identified anthelmintic-resistant strains of nematodirus and consequently, it is recommended that sheep farmers use a white drench (1BZ benzimidazole) for the control of this parasite.
- Research Update - Managing lambing amid wet conditions
Fiona McGovern, Animal & Grassland Research and Innovation Centre, Teagasc Athenry, Co. Galway reports on the latest from the INZAC and breeding flocks at Athenry. Lambing commenced in the INZAC flock on February 26, 2023. Having our ewes synchronised prior to AI in early October means that our lambing spread has been quite compact, with 65% of the ewes lambed at the time of writing (March 16). Lamb mortality is running at approximately 6% on average.
- BETTER Farm Update - Lambing and grass growth
Frank Campion, of the Animal & Grassland Research and Innovation Centre, Athenry, Co. Galway reports on how lambing and grass growth are faring on the BETTER Sheep farms. At the time of writing, the lowland flocks are in the midst of lambing and although weather conditions are variable and slowing down the turning out of ewes and lambs to grass, there are still suitable opportunities to get them turned out. The hill flocks in the programme will be lambing this month and flocks have gathered any remaining ewes off the hill onto enclosed ground for lambing.
- Teagasc Hill Sheep Conference
Recordings of four papers from the Teagasc Hill Sheep Conference dealing with organics, the Agri-Climate Rural Environment Scheme Co-operation Project (ACRES CP), ram genotyping and flock health are now available online. You can watch them here