This month sheep farm walks of interest to every progressive, practical lamb producer will be held on hill and lowland farms across Northern Ireland.
Organised jointly by AFBI, AgriSearch and CAFRE these free farm walks are on;
Tuesday, 21 January 2014 AgriSearch Sheep Farm Walk 2pm to 4pm hosted by Isaac Crilly, 7 Fort Road, Lislaird, Castlederg, BT81 7UL Tel; (028) 8778 9770 or browse www.agrisearch.org
Wednesday, 22 January 2014
AgriSearch Sheep Farm Walk 2pm to 4pm hosted by Samuel Wharry, Harphall, 42 Whitehill Road, Carnlough, BT44 0HG Tel; (028) 8778 9770 or browse www.agrisearch.org
Thursday, 23 January 2014
AgriSearch Sheep Farm Walk 2pm to 4pm hosted by John Martin, Gordonall, 93 Newtownards Road, Greyabbey, BT22 2QJ Tel; (028) 8778 9770 or browse www.agrisearch.org
Friday, 24 January 2014
AgriSearch Sheep Farm Walk 2pm to 4pm hosted by Joe Maginn, 97 Ballagh Road, Newcastle, BT33 0LA Tel; (028) 8778 9770 or browse www.agrisearch.org
All the host farmers currently participate in on-farm research with AFBI Hillsborough, funded by DARD and AgriSearch.
Thus these farm walks are an excellent opportunity to discuss practical research findings with the host farmer and staff from AFBI, AgriSearch and CAFRE. Major topics to debate include updates on the benefits of crossbred ewes for improved production efficiency, feeding strategies for indoor lambing systems and health aspects in late pregnancy, including how to better diagnose and treat lameness.
Staff from AFBI Veterinary Sciences division will be on hand to discuss how to tackle fluke and worm burdens. Finally, a simple recording scheme, available from AFBI, to select replacement ewes for prolificacy and easier lambing will be featured.
The AgriSearch farm walks cover both lowland production systems on the farms of Isaac Crilly and John Martin, and hill production systems seen on the units of, Samuel Wharry and Joe Maginn.
Isaac Crilly has an excellent, labour efficient housing system, handling facilities and lambing areas for his 450 breeding ewes. His priorities are to maximise the use of grazed grass and to increase lambing percentage, whilst maintaining lamb quality, by selecting replacements from his most prolific ewes and by favouring a more maternal and prolific flock based on the Belclare cross and a NZ Suffolk cross.
Isaac’s rams are selected using performance records with winter feeding mostly based on straw and concentrates. John Martin’s composite flock comprises 600 breeding ewes, including 140 homebred ewe lambs. His emphasis is on developing a management system with reduced labour requirement and high output. Above all John’s priorities are to produce very good grass silage and to make use of home-grown grain and straw.
Finger posted from nearby settlements and main roads these events are open to all seeking to make a living from sheep. But do remember to take biosecurity precautions by wearing clean clothes and washable boots.