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Sheep Newsletter - March 2023

06 March 2023
Type Newsletter

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In this month's edition:

  • Grassland
    Aim for a pre-grazing cover of 1,000-1,200kg DM/ha (7-8cm). Graze down to a residual of 3.5cm in the first round. Avoid grazing for prolonged periods at low covers. Once grass height goes below 4cm the ewe is no longer able to meet its daily intake requirements and supplementation will be needed.
  • Colostrum
    Making sure lambs receive adequate colostrum is vital. It serves three main functions.
    1. Provides a dense source of energy and nutrients.
    2. Source of maternally derived antibodies that provide the lambs with passive immunity.
    3. Acts as a laxative to help clean the digestive tract.
  • Scanning
    Frank Campion, Animal & Grassland Research and Innovation Centre, Athenry, Co. Galway reports on scanning of yearling ewes and the hill flocks. The flocks lambing yearling ewes pregnancy scanned these in February with good results overall. These yearling ewes are currently being managed separately in the run-up to lambing. The Teagasc BETTER hill sheep flocks pregnancy scanned their ewes during February. Pregnancy rates across the flocks are on target (>90%) this year, with litter sizes also within the targets for the three flocks presented.
  • Research Update - Hopeful growth will improve
    Philip Creighton, Animal & Grassland Research and Innovation Centre, Teagasc Athenry, Co. Galway reports on scanning and grass growth rates on the Sheep Research Demonstration Farm. Ewes were scanned in early January. Preliminary analysis shows an overall scan rate of 1.94 lambs per ewe put to the ram. Barren rate was 3% after a five-week mating period. Over winter grass growth has been low, averaging approximately 3kg/ha/day for December and January. N in the form of protected urea (15 units/ac) was applied in mid February to anything with a grass cover above 5cm (~500kg DM/ha).
  • 12 steps to reducing emissions
    Over 12 months, the Teagasc advisory newsletters will outline one action per month farmers can take to reduce their emissions. This month, the focus is on step three - Optimise soil P and K.