CPT Lambing almost finished
The final AI’d ewes are now lambing down on the flocks of UCD (Lyons Estate) and Brian Nicholson (Johnstown, Co. Kilkenny). The other CPT flocks have all concluded the lambing of their CPT ewes and are now lambing down ewes that repeated to AI. Lambing went well across all flocks and was helped hugely by the timely improvement in weather conditions which enables farmers to release lambs soon after birth, keeping individual lambing pens free. The level of supervision required on each farm over the lambing period is extremely high with a 24 hour presence required across all flocks to ensure that all necessary records are captured. Events such as lamb fostering can be very difficult to record accurately, especially when there are up to 15/20 fostering’s taking place on a flock in the peak of lambing. The best way we have found to track these events is to use whiteboards on each individual lambing pen and to record all the relevant movement data at the point of the ewes and lambs entering the lambing pen. If the data is not recorded by the person placing the ewe into the lambing pen, it is all but lost. Trying to remember events afterwards is simply not possible given the level of lambing activity taking place.
What is next for the CPT lambs
40 day weights will be collected from all CPT lambs from Mid-April. This will give us a great indicator of ewe milk. Given the current spell of good weather, lamb loses should be low, but any cases of mortality between now and the 40 day weight will be recorded by each CPT farmer via their Sheep Ireland handheld.
OVIGEN Pilot Project update
We hope to post out the first of our DNA sampling tags as part of the OVIGEN pilot project to provide parentage verification ahead of the 2016 ram sale season. It will be critical that the breeders involved in this project return these tags as soon as possible to facilitate the genotyping and reporting of results in advance of the ram sale season. The first sales take place in mid-July, so the window is tight. Our hope is that this pilot project will help us to establish the infrastructure to allow all performance recording breeders in 2017 to genotype any of their lambs using a user-friendly online system via the Sheep Ireland web screens.