This week was a very busy one with the National Ploughing championships in Ratheniska, Co. Laois. Sheep Ireland participated in the Livestock Demonstration in association with the Irish Farmers Journal, Bord Bia and the ICBF. This was a great event which attracted large crowds over the three days. Promoting the merits of genetic indices across dairy, beef and sheep was high on the agenda and having livestock exhibits helped greatly to engage the public.
We would like to thank the IFJ, especially Darren Carty who helped to transport stock to and from the event on our behalf. We would also like to thank CPT flock owner John Large who supplied lambs for the Sheep Ireland section of the livestock demonstration. See some images from the Demo below.
STAP Deadline Only a Week Away
Sheep Ireland is involved in the administration of STAP Task 1 (using a €uroStar Ram) and Task 2 (Maternal Flock recording). The deadline for the current year is October 2nd 2015, which is only a week away so the number of queries into the office is increasing day by day.
In order for a farmer to pass for Task 1 they must submit a ram query form and a photocopy of the dispatch docket to Sheep Ireland before the Department of Agriculture deadline. If STAP farmers wish to see if their application was successful they can log into the Sheep Ireland website, contact their facilitator or Sheep Ireland.
All Task 2 data (weights and Lambing records) must also be entered on the database by STAP farmers/facilitators before the deadline. Any queries should be directed to Sheep Ireland (1850 601 901).
Final preparations are being made now in advance of the 2015 CPT AI programme. Our panel of rams is now 99% complete. We will begin transporting rams into the CPT base in Lyons Estate, UCD on Monday 28th. These rams will be held in isolation for a period until they have been given a thorough examination by a Vet.
Once we are satisfied that there are no health concerns, the rams will be trained to provide semen. Training the rams to jump and provide semen is a critical step to minimise any issues taking semen from rams on the day of AI. Sponging of the CPT ewes will begin next week and will take place over 8 days. Sponge removal will follow in 12 days with each ewe being AI’d 14 days after sponge introduction. Ewes are AI’d using fresh semen.
While in UCD each ram is supervised intensively. All rams are penned individually and are fed morning and evening, while being constantly monitored for any health issues throughout the CPT period. Rams are foot bathed regularly also. The benefits of entering a ram into the Sheep Ireland CPT are numerous.
The aim of the programme is to mate all rams with 100 ewes. This volume of data helps to greatly increase the accuracy % of each CPT rams genetic evaluation. The selection criteria for rams entering the programme include:
- Selecting high Index rams on the Replacement Index
- Selecting rams that already have a reasonably high accuracy%
- Using rams bred by breeders with a high DQI score
- Selecting rams currently being used by Pedigree breeders – these rams are likely to confirm to the breed characteristics and are likely to be physically correct.
Future Objectives of the Sheep Ireland CPT
While one of the core CPT objectives will always be helping to build and maintain genetic linkage within our sheep breed, the CPT will also be used as a place to identify and prove high index sires across the various breeds participating in the breed improvement programme.
Sheep Ireland will be inviting each respective breed society to have a role in this process with the aim of identifying high index bloodlines which can hopefully be dispersed among breeders through AI to the benefit of commercial sheep farmers.
It will be critical to identify rams that not only tick the boxes from a genetic evaluation point of view, but also from a physical point of view and this is where the input of breed societies will be essential.