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Finalist of Highest Achieving LambPlus Flock 2022 – Liam & Eoin Dunne, Belclares, Tubber

Liam and Eoin Dunne are one of the three finalists of the Highest Achieving LambPlus Flock 2022. The Tubber flock, located in Tubber, Co. Offaly was first establised in 1995 and has gone from strength to strength since then, breeding some of the top Belcare sheep in the country. This was rewarded in 2019 and 2021 when their animals championed the Belclare Sheep Society Premier Sale. The Dunnes began performance recording with sheep Ireland in 2010 and lambed down 50 pedigree Belclare ewes in 2022. The flock has an average replacement value of €6.53 and an average Terminal Value of €1.51.

Liam accredits the success of the flock partly to careful selection of breeding animals used in the flock. Knockcroghery Gottfried is a great example of this. Purchased in 2021, he is in the Top 2% on both the Terminal and Replacement indexes. Over 95% of Gottfried’s progeny on the farm rank as 4 or 5 star on the Replacement and/or Terminal index.

it is worthwhile selecting high index replacements when buying in stock as these animals consistently prove to be more profitable”

The DQI of the Tubber Flock has been consistently high over the years, it is currently 90%, reflecting the attention to detail and effort that Liam and Eoin put in to recording information about the flock. This efforts has payed its dividends as it has allowed the Dunnes to make informed decisions for their breeding programme based on the information they have to hand.

In 2021 the Tubber Flock sold Tubber Godwyn to the CPT programme as a ram lamb. 98% of Godwyns progeny currently have 4 or 5 stars on the Replacement and/or Terminal indexes which reflects how important linkage is to asess how the genetics of a flock can perform in various conditions. Liam commented on the importance of sharing information, interacting with other farmers and having a good linkage status with other flocks as some of the fundamental keys to the success of the flock. Having a good linkage status has given the Dunnes confidence that the genes of their flock can perform just as well in any setting.

“linking the flock with other flocks around the country is a great way of seeing the true performance of the genetics of an animal”

The overall winner of the highest achieving LambPlus flock will be announced at the Sheep Ireland Breeding Conference & Farm Walk on the 12th July. The winner will receive a cash prize of €1,000, an engraved trophy and bragging rights for the year ahead. The two other finalists will receive a cash prize of €500 and a framed award. FBD kindly sponsors the LambPlus awards. Flocks were selected based on a number of criteria including the genetic merit of the flock based on the Replacement & Terminal Index, the DQI of the flock and the Accuracy of the breeding values within the flock. These awards are to acknowledge the effort and contribution that these breeders are making to the National Sheep Industry.