Weekly Update: 08/09/17

Sheep Ireland Guide and Breeder Directory

The latest Sheep Ireland guide has been produced and in early August was circulated to over 11,000 Irish sheep farmers by post. All LambPlus participants should have received this guide also. The guide itself is aimed at commercial sheep farmers and provides some very simple messages on how best to use the €uroStar evaluations. Step 1 is still to assess the physical characteristics of the ram and how best to do this is detailed in the guide. After this the guide goes into some detail about how best to apply genetic indexes to your flock to maximise the benefits. Should anyone wish to have a copy posted to them, please contact the Sheep Ireland office on 023 8820 451 or click on cover page below for electronic copy.

Using a ‘team’ of rams

A concept which Sheep Ireland has been trying to promote among Irish sheep farmers is the concept of using a team of rams. This concept is widely used in the dairy industry when high index, low accuracy% bulls/bloodlines are being used. Instead of using a single low accuracy% bull farmers will use a number of different low accuracy% bulls – thus greatly reducing the overall impact of one or two of these bulls genetic indexes dropping in the future as more data is recorded. This spread of sires is very easy to achieve when using AI, but the same concept can be applied to sheep.

The average Irish sheep farmer has 3 rams in the flock at any one time, with larger flocks obviously having larger numbers of breeding rams. This is essentially the ‘team’ effect. If farmers consistently use high index breeding rams

On page 7 of the Sheep Ireland guide, farmers can learn how to combat the challenges posed by low accuracy%. Using the ram team concept is one such method.

Sheep Ireland board meeting

The next Sheep Ireland board meeting takes place next Thursday (Sept 14th). Should anyone have suggestions or questions to raise, these regular board meetings are one of the ways to do so. All sectors of the Irish sheep industry are represented on the board – for a full list of current representatives just click here to go to the relevant page on the Sheep Ireland website.