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Sheep Newsletter - May 2023

11 May 2023
Type Newsletter

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In this month's edition:

  • Grassland management
    The adverse weather in early April delayed fertiliser applications for first-cut silage. The general rule of thumb is that applied nitrogen (N) is used up at a rate of two units/day in good growing conditions – if in doubt contact your advisor before harvesting to test the grass for nitrate and sugar levels.
  • Keep a step ahead of lameness
    The most common cause of lameness in lambs at this stage is scald, identifiable as an irritated area between the digits of the hoof. Early intervention is key as it will spread rapidly.
  • Date for the diary
    SHEEP 2023: the largest dedicated sheep industry event of 2023 takes places on Saturday, June 17. Following on from very successful past events, this year’s event will take place in a new venue, Gurteen Agricultural College, Roscrea, Co. Tipperary, E53 TP93. Further information can be found here
  • Research update - Identifying best practice 
    Tim Keady and Bríd McClearn of Teagasc, Athenry, Co. Galway report on the EuroSheep network, and how it is helping to identify best practices to improve flock health and nutrition. EuroSheep is a thematic network on sheep production funded by the EU. The overall aim of EuroSheep is to share knowledge between stakeholders to improve flock nutrition and health management across Europe.
  • DAFM nematodirus forecast
    The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine’s (DAFM) nematodirus forecast suggested that peak egg hatching occurred for most of the country during the period of April 6-12. See the full document at this link here
  • BETTER Farm Update - Lamb performance
    Frank Campion of the Animal & Grassland Research and Innovation Centre, Athenry, Co. Galway reports on grass growth and lamb performance on the BETTER sheep farms. Lambing has concluded on the lowland flocks and post-lambing grazing rotations are in full swing, with ewes and lambs grouped-up into larger groups in order to reduce the number of groups on the farms. Grass growth rates were good for April but grazing conditions, particularly on the heavier farms, were challenging, especially early in the month.
  • Health and Safety - Focus on safety at SHEEP 2023
    SHEEP 2023 (Gurteen Agricultural College – June 17) will include a strong focus on health and safety for sheep farmers. Demonstrations will include: safe sheep handling practices and equipment; the new legislative requirement for training and PPE use when operating an ATV; security on the farm; safe use of trailers; risks linked to vehicle blind spots; child safety; and, the importance of proactive management of mental and physical health.