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Dairygold Sheep Seminar Highlights Positives

Dairygold Sheep Seminar Highlights Positives

30th January 2019

Friday 25th January 2019


Dairygold Co Op held a very well attended sheep seminar in the Riverview Park Hotel Macroom, last night, Thursday 24th January. Over 75 turned out to hear advice from a panel of three speakers including UCD Professor Tommy Boland, Irish Farmers Journal Sheep Editor, Darren Carty and Dairygold Nutritionist Colman Purcell.

Dairygold Sales Manager, Nial Griffey, opened the conference welcoming the large turnout which he noted reflected more positive mood among sheep farmers. “The annual Teagasc farm survey recorded a good year in 2018 with further growth prospects for 2019. He added that sheep farmers should be aware that Dairygold Agribusiness Advisory is available to help and support them.”

Keynote speaker Professor Tommy Boland from UCD highlighted that sheep farmers’ focus needed to stay on lamb sales which have traditionally been and will continue to be the main profit driver on sheep farms. He stressed the importance on reducing lamb mortality as a key contributor to flock performance, particularly in flocks with higher litter sizes, which will have knock on benefits for performance of all lambs in the flock

He added that late pregnancy is a major challenge for the ewe and early life is a major challenge for the lamb. Both can be overcome with a good feeding plan. Colostrum is gold, and the ewe will need to milk off her back in early lactation. Allow her to do this. As the lamb grows, feed supply, parasite control and mineral nutrition are key factors boosting performance. There is no magic solution, it’s about getting the basics right

Peter Varley Sheep specialist from the Irish Farmers Journal looked at the market opportunities for 2019 noting the positive trends for lamb prices with farmers securing €5.25-€5.30 /kg while fleshed factory fit lambs are selling over €120/head.  Interestingly he reported on almost 1,800 flocks in Co. Cork with little change since 2010. Looking out into the spring he estimated less early lambs and lower prolificacy with some normal seasonal pressure on price but good market prospects overall.  Peter Varley while very positively about markets for the next six month also outlined future competition from Spain and  New Zealand and a possible Brexit effect as Britain is Europe’s biggest sheep producer.

Colman Purcell, Dairygold Ruminant Nutritionist looked at nutrition for the pre-lambing ewe.  Colman advised on the importance of using the best ingredients, especially around the quality of the protein and their effect on performance.  Colman also noted that   2018 Silage Analyses from Dairygolds Laboratory are averaging 67.8 DMD and the importance of knowing the quality to manage flock condition score. He concluded by advising farmers to ask their local Area Sales Manager for advice where needed or to contact Dairygold Inside Sales team on 022-31644.