The fourth of five nominees for the Most Improved LamPlus Flock 2019 is Duhallow Charollais owned by Maria and John Philpott. The Duhallow flock was established in 2006 near Kanturk in Co. Cork and has been a member of the LambPlus programme since 2009. Maria and John take great care with the breeding decisions they make with their flock always aiming to improve the functionality of the animals they breed.
When electing breeding animals both the replacement index and the terminal index are considered with special attention paid to the days to slaughter and daughter’s milk sub indexes. Mothering ability is also recorded in the Duhallow flock with replacements only kept from ewes who were very good mothers. The careful selection of animals with high genetic merit has resulted in the 2019 lamb crop from Duhallow Charollais having an average €uro-Star value of €2.22 on the replacement index and an average €uro-Star value of €1.19 on the terminal index. These €uro-star ratings place the Duhallow in the top 12% and 8% of Charollais flocks on the replacement and terminal indexes, respectively.
The Philpotts have improved their data recording over the past few years with efforts being made to improve the number and accuracy of lamb weights and although all data was recorded previously greater efforts have been made to get this data logged on the Sheep Ireland data base more promptly. The special effort to improve data collection can be seen from the flocks DQI of 76%.
All the ewes in the Duhallow flock are naturally mated and all aspects of flock management aim to produce functional sheep as naturally as possible. To improve flock linkage and animal accuracies Maria and John made their main stock ram Lisfuncheon Edward available to the CPT programme in 2018 and 2019. The improved data collection and inclusion of a stock ram in the CPT have both helped the Duhallow flock to achieve an average flock index accuracy of 44%.
Lisfuncheon Edward has been a very influential sire in the Duhallow flock with many daughters retained from him and 46 progeny in the flock currently. The reason for Lisfuncheon Edward’s use as a stock ram can be seen from his €uro-Star figures of €2.48 (Top 12%) on the replacement index and €1.44 on the terminal index (Top 7%). Edward’s inclusion in the CPT also meant he has high index accuracies of 72% and 79% on the replacement and terminal indexes, respectively. An impressive young ram Maria and John introduced to the flock in 2018 is Jackstown Robert, who was purchased based on his high €uro-Star figures and the fact that the Jackstown flock consistently produce double five-star animals across the flock. Jackstown Robert has impressive €uro-Star values of €2.81 (Top 8%) and €2.32 (Top 2%) at on the replacement and terminal indexes, respectively. The standout figure for Jackstown Robert is his very impressive days to slaughter figure of -23 days which places him in the top 1% of the Charollais breed.