Sheep Technology Adoption Programme 2015
STAP is has moved into its third year and the terms and conditions have recently been published on the DAFM website. As has been mentioned many times in this update, STAP has been instrumental in helping to progress the Sheep Ireland breed improvement programme. There are a number of slight changes to the programme for 2015 and all participants should read through the most recent Terms and Conditions document to ensure that they meet all the requirements before the end of the year.
For STAP 2015 all participants will be required to carry out 2 tasks from a menu of 10 possibilities. For 2015, the €uroStar ram task (Task 1) will be worth 2 tasks. This will hopefully help to maintain the trend of increasing use of performance recorded rams in Ireland. The number of pedigree breeders performance recording their flocks continues to grow annually and if this growth is to continue, demand from commercial sheep farmers will be critical.
The 4,000 STAP participants represent 12% of the total number of sheep farmers in Ireland (34,000 in total). Demand for €uroStar rams outside of STAP is growing annually and Sheep Ireland will be investing a lot of effort in 2015 to promote further growth across the industry. Part of this effort will involve increasing the circulation of the ‘LambPlus Guide & Breeder Directory’. For the past 2 years we have produced this directory and it has proved very popular as a ‘go to’ place for finding ram breeders around the country.
We have started to make calls to LambPlus breeders in order to assure that they are aware of what is required when they are recording their lambing information and to answer any questions that may have arisen over the busy lambing period. We will continue with these for the week ahead.
Nuffield Scholar Visit
Yesterday (Thursday) we had a visit from Tim Gubbins who is an Australian Nuffield Scholar. He is investigating different methods used around the world to reduce lamb mortality from the foetus up until weaning, and he was interested to see how Sheep Ireland were tackling this from a genetics point of view in Ireland. We wish him all the best on the rest of his travels. (L to R: Kevin McDermott, Sheep Ireland; Tim Gubbins, Nuffield Scholar)