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Tullamore Farm Lambing 2022 – “Anyone who is serious about improving the genetics of their flock, performance recording is invaluable”

The Irish Farmers Journal was out this week on the Tullamore Farm in County Offaly and got down to basics on how they are improving the genetic merit of their flock by performance recording.

Shaun Diver explained how keeping pen boards and scoring the ewes and lambs as they lamb down can make life a lot easier for sheep farmers. In particular in the hype of the busy lambing period and ewes lambing through the night, keeping a pen board to record data such as DOB, lambing difficulty, mothering and milk ability, lamb vigour etc can be really useful to assist in keeping good performance records and can be easily entered into the Sheep Ireland App for instant analysis.

Shaun explained, that for the benefit of the flock and the labour involved with performance recording, it is well worth doing.

“It takes 4 or 5 minutes in the pen and you have invaluable information to go back and see…that’s the the beauty of it you can easily see what ewe lambs will be kept as replacements by going back and seeing did her mother lamb? how milky was she? what was the weight of her lambs?…okay she has performed really well and this is the type of sheep we want to keep”

He also mentioned the importance of this invaluable data recording going back to the breeding rams used. The data will highlight what ram he would like to continue to use on breeding ewes as he has proven himself to be an excellent ram on his replacement index meaning that he will keep daughters from him for breeding in the future.

The controversial topic of tagging lambs at birth came up during the webinar also. Shaun Diver demonstrated how easy it is to tag a lamb at birth and these tags are scanned into the Sheep Ireland app when recording the lamb’s details. Farmers may fear ear infections when thinking of tagging at birth however Shaun explained that they have very little bother around infections in the ear from tagging at birth and the ear tag loss rate is very low as long as the tag is put in the ear correctly it should not fall out. Tagging at birth saves Tullamore Farm a lot of time as when tagging lambs when they are much older and stronger can be difficult as they are stronger and a little harder to handle.

Another important element of performance recording and tagging at birth at the Tullamore Farm, as Shaun explained, is that when ewes and lambs are left onto pasture and a lamb appears to be a little empty or sick in the field, you can immediately check on their LambPlus account who the mother of the lamb is and check her udder for milk to establish why the lamb may not be thriving. Also, if there is an issue with a ewe in the field, it is easy to establish what lambs belong to her.

IFJ went through some lambing figures such as lambing difficulty percentages, numbers of births etc that were all instantly available for analysis through the Sheep Ireland lambing report on Tullamore Farm. This article is well worth the read and the video is well worth the watch. Find both by click HERE.