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Sheep Newsletter - March 2024

08 March 2024
Type Newsletter

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In this month's edition:

  • Grassland
    Reports suggest good opening covers on farms that closed early, with lower covers on those that didn’t. Pre-grazing covers for March should be 1,000-1,200kg DM/ha (7-8cm). Graze these down to 3.5cm in the first round. Once grass height goes below 4cm ewes are no longer able to meet daily intake requirements and require supplementation.
  • Colostrum
    Adequate colostrum intake is the best way to improve lamb survival and performance. Colostrum serves three main functions: dense source of energy/nutrients; source of maternally derived antibodies for lambs’ passive immunity; and, as a laxative to help clean the digestive tract.
  • Hygiene
    Keep pens and lambing areas clean and dry to reduce the newborns’ infection exposure. Use lime or other disinfectants. Straw shortages are affecting farms, so consider alternatives such as sawdust/wood shavings.
  • Research Update - Scanning and growth
    Philip Creighton of Teagasc AGRIC, Athenry, Co. Galway reports on the latest from the Sheep Research Demonstration Farm. Ewes were scanned in early January, and overall scan rate is 1.87 lambs per ewe. Over winter grass growth has been low. Due to poor weather, no N has been applied to date (mid February).
  • BETTER Farm Update - Lambing coming fast
    Frank Campion of Teagasc AGRIC, Athenry, Co. Galway looks at lambing and scanning on the BETTER farms. On the lowland farms, they are preparing for lambing. Farmers are ensuring there are enough lambing pens, group pens, supplies, etc., and assessing grass supplies and planning for turn out. The BETTER hill sheep farms pregnancy scanned in February. Pregnancy rates vary and in some flocks are below target (>90%).