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Sheep Newsletter - May 2024

13 May 2024
Type Newsletter

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In this month's edition:

  • Grassland
    Flock performance is at its best when a constant supply of fresh high-quality grass is available to ewes and lambs. If grazing group size is not sufficient to graze out an area in three to four days, you can increase group size. Where this is not practical, temporary electric fencing should be used to subdivide paddocks.
  • National Sheep Welfare Scheme
    The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) has opened a new National Sheep Welfare Scheme (NSWS) with a payment rate of €8 per eligible ewe. The Scheme runs separately to the Sheep Improvement Scheme (SIS), and all intending applicants need to apply online via their Agfood.ie portal or through their authorised agricultural agent before May 21.
  • Flock health
    Lambs born in early March have probably been dosed for nematodirus. For later lambs, treat with a white drench at five to six weeks once they are eating enough grass to ingest the infective larvae, or when any symptoms like scouring occur.
  • Research Update - Results from lambing
    Philip Creighton of Teagasc AGRIC, Athenry, Co. Galway reports on lambing the Sheep Research Demonstration Farm. Lambing commenced on February 29 and ended on March 31. Around 90% of the flocks lambed over the first 17 days. Birth weights for singles, twins and triplets averaged 5.8kg, 4.9kg and 4.0kg, respectively. Lamb mortality is averaging 11%.
  • Flukicide residues in lamb carcases
    Flukicides have been used for years to prevent and treat liver fluke. National Residue Control Plan testing has detected residues of flukicides (often containing Closantel) in ovine carcases.
  • BETTER Farm Update - Analysing performance
    Frank Campion, of Teagasc AGRIC Athenry, Co. Galway takes us through what’s happening on the BETTER sheep farms. On the lowland farms, ewes and lambs are grouped into their main grazing groups. Seven-week weights are being collected and will indicate how the difficult weather has affected lamb performance. Assess lambing now to see what changes can be made for next year. When dosing or weighing lambs, identify ewes that are not rearing good lambs with a view to culling. Even the top-performing BETTER farms will have ewes that fail to perform.
  • Health & Safety - Safety in mind at this busy time
    Delayed spring field work combined with silage making and other field operations will increase machinery use. Drive at a speed that is appropriate and be vigilant of hazards like blind spots. You must have a clear view as you enter/exit public roads. Talk to your contractor in advance to plan work and inform them of hazards. Keep children and people not involved in work clear of moving machinery. Tidy farmyards will help.