Sheep Newsletter - September 2023
05 September 2023
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In this month's edition:
It is time to assess demand on farms as we head into the tail end of the season. Many farms may be carrying additional lambs into autumn, due to what has been a challenging season for lamb performance. Take this extra demand into account when budgeting the farm’s carrying capacity this autumn, and implement steps to carry or reduce demand early in September to avoid setbacks later on as grass growth slows.
- Fertiliser register
The fertiliser database came into effect from July 24, 2023. All chemical fertiliser and lime will only be sold to/purchased by registered parties from September 1 onwards, and will be recorded on this database. From midnight September 14 on, farmers need to declare the closing stock of all remaining fertiliser on their farms; this is also applicable to situations where no stocks remain.
A consequence of lower performance in lambs this season is reflected by the increased number of lighter, under-fleshed lambs of 16-17kg and fat class 1 lambs being presented to abattoirs this autumn. These lambs are posing challenges for processors to market, and are not achieving their potential for the farmers that supplied them.
- Breeding stock
Ensure all new breeding stock are enrolled on the farm’s vaccination programme in time ahead of the breeding season. As discussed in the BETTER farm update, it’s important to monitor ewe condition as we approach the breeding season, as the condition of the ewe flocks can have a big impact on productivity and management next spring. Remember to keep a close eye on breeding rams in the lead-up to turnout.
- Research update - Lamb performance
Fiona McGovern, Animal & Grassland Research and Innovation Centre, Teagasc Athenry, Co. Galway, reports on the latest from the INZAC and breeding flocks at Teagasc, Athenry. Grass growing conditions are at an optimum for the time of year here in Athenry. Grass growth is currently above average at 75kg dry matter (DM)/ha, with a demand of 35kg DM/ha. All lambs in the INZAC flock were weaned on June 13, at approximately 100 days of age. As we go to print, lambs are currently averaging at 38kg liveweight with a growth rate of 230g/day in the month post weaning.
- BETTER Farm Update - Lamb management and culling
Frank Campion, Animal & Grassland Research and Innovation Centre, Athenry, Co. Galway reports on culling and the management of low-level BCS ewes. The Teagasc BETTER farm flocks’ cull ewes have been marked throughout the year, and ewes will be checked for breeding faults again in the run-up to mating and be culled as necessary. The flocks’ target is to have a 20-25% replacement rate and, where possible, to cull poorer-performing ewes also from the flock.
- Health and Safety - Deadline for National Farm Safety Measure: September 29
If you need new power take-off (PTO) shaft covers or ATV helmets, don’t miss out on funding from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) to cover 60% of the eligible cost. The measure will cover up to two quad bike/ATV helmets and four PTO shaft covers. The grant aid is subject to a maximum eligible cost of €100 per PTO shaft cover and €150 per quad bike helmet.