MALP & CPT meetings
This week we met with our CPT and MALP flocks to update them on the latest Sheep Ireland activities and discuss plans for the upcoming lambing season. While the lambing season is an extremely busy time for all sheep farmers, the tagging and collection of data on each lamb born adds another layer of work onto the daily routine. Each MALP and CPT flock owner has been recording data for a number of years now and as each year passes, the performance recording process is being tweaked and improved to maximise efficiency. All of these flocks are very committed to the collection of the required data and the contribution that this data makes to the genetic evaluations is hugely significant.
In total 25 rams were used this Autumn in our CPT, with almost 80 different sires used across the MALP flocks. The average conception rate to the artificial insemination in our CPT programme is 78% with a average scanning rate of 1.8 across the ewes that successfully conceived.
Yesterday (Thursday) we visited the very first flocks as part of our DNA collection campaign for genotyping under the Ovigen research project. Vendeen flocks will be targeted for our first visits. Irish Vendeen breeders generally lamb their ewes earlier than other breeds, which means lambs should now be old enough to be handled without fear of injury or distress. We will be contacting all LambPlus breeders across the breeds taking part in Ovigen in the coming weeks and months to arrange suitable dates and times to visit the flock. It will be a huge task, but one we look forward too.
The first AI’d ewes will begin lambing from the 25th of February on the farm of Brian Nicholson. Brian is a participant in the Teagasc Better farm programme and has been tagging lambs at birth and collecting data since he joined this programme. With this in mind his flock was an ideal location to carry out some AI. Preparation for lambing is already underway across all the CPT flocks, with lambing pens now being erected. Up to 350 ewes are AI’d per day each Autumn – as a result of this lambing time is extremely busy. The farmers will expect to see up to 75/80 ewes lambing down on the peak lambing day. This means alot of individual pens are required, especially when weather conditions may not be ideal to release new born lambs.