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Sheep Newsletter - February 2024

01 February 2024
Type Newsletter

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In this month's edition:

  • Grassland management
    A lack of nitrogen (N) in the soil will limit grass growth in spring. When conditions are right, apply 19-25kg/ha (15-20 units per acre) of N in the form of protected urea. As well as having suitable ground conditions, applications should be delayed until soil temperature is above the 6oC required for growth. Keep a close eye on the weather forecast and avoid spreading before a severe drop in temperature or heavy rain.
  • Flock health
    Keep on top of lameness. It depresses feed intake, making affected ewes less inclined to compete for feed. Untreated sheep will lose body condition score (BCS) and can develop metabolic diseases. Separate and treat lame sheep promptly, consulting with your vet if necessary for diagnosis and prescription.
  • Planning for lambing
    Make a list and buy essential lambing supplies and equipment now. Having these items when you need them will save lambs. Best of luck for lambing 2024.
  • Sheep Census deadline
    Postal submissions for the Sheep Census are closed. Online submission is still possible up to February 14 through your www.agfood.ie account.
  • Hill Sheep Conference
    The Teagasc National Hill Sheep Conference 2024 is on Thursday, February 15 at 7pm in the Glendalough Hotel, Co. Wicklow, A98 X9C1. Full details are available here
  • BETTER Farm Update - Lambing on the horizon
    Frank Campion, of AGRIC, Athenry, Co. Galway reports on scanning rates and preparation for lambing. Litter sizes are slightly ahead of 2023 on average, at +0.1 for the group. For pregnancy rates, most farms achieved 95% or higher. At scanning time, the ewes were also condition scored, with BCS varying across the flocks.
  • Research Update - Lambing season preparation
    Edel O’Connor and Anne Biggins, of AGRIC, Teagasc Athenry report on lambing preparations on the INZAC flock. INZAC ewes were scanned to assist pre-lambing management. Results show a pregnancy rate to first service (AI) of 76%. Scan rates were 1.25 lambs per ewe joined for Irish low genetic merit ewes, 1.56 for Irish high genetic merit ewes, 1.79 for New Zealand ewes, and 1.84 for NZ X high Irish ewes.