Our third and final nominee for the highest achieving LambPlus flock 2019 is Finbarr Godfrey of Cregeen Charollais. Finbarr established Cregeen Charollais in 2011 near Kilgarvin, Co. Kerry and has been an active member of LambPlus since 2014. Since joining the LambPlus programme Finbarr has put great emphasis on both the replacement and terminal index when selecting replacements and buying breeding animals. When selecting breeding animals Finbarr focuses on lambing difficulty, lamb survival and days to slaughter but despite his faith in the €uro-Star evaluations he stated that the animal must be hardy and physically correct no matter how high his or her stars are. Finbarr’s use of the €uro-Star values to select replacement females and breeding rams has resulted in his 2019 lambs having an average €uro-Star value of €2.40 (Top 6%) on the replacement index and €1.16 (Top 11%) on the terminal index.
Finbarr puts a lot of effort into data recording and he feels it is an area that is easier to keep up with if you record the data as and when it becomes available. Finbarr uses the LambPlus App to record all data meaning the recorded data is uploaded to the Sheep Ireland database instantly. Finbarr records all mating, pregnancy scanning and lambing data and keeps his inventory up to date so there are no spare ewes in his inventory not being recorded. Lambs are weighted regularly with all lambs weighed at least three times and the vast majority of lamb’s muscle and fat scanned. All health traits are also recorded including lameness, mastitis, prolapse, body condition score and dag score. Finbarr’s attention to detail in data collection as well as the quantity and quality of the data collected has culminated in his excellent DQI of 95%.
Although the majority of ewes are mated naturally Finbarr has used AI through the RamPlus programme and has also used fresh semen from his own stock rams. Being involved in the RamPlus programme has improved the flock’s linkage and has also helped to improve index accuracies with the current flock average index accuracy standing at 42%. Finbarr has many different bloodlines in the flock and the Sheep Ireland inbreeding checker is put to good use to ensure no inbreeding occurs. One ram that has had a significant influence on the flock is Bawnard Bob (D3215045) who has many daughters in the flock and this decision is based on his excellent €uro-star figures of €4.19 (Top 2%) on the replacement index and €2.21 (Top 2%) on the terminal index. Bawnard Bob has a days to slaughter index of -22 days (Top 1%) and is in the top 8% for number of lambs born.
Finbarr is the third of three nominees to be announced for the highest achieving LambPlus flock in 2019 with the other two being John Renehan (Violet Hill Belclares) and Eoghan Barrett (Alloon Belclares). All three nominees will be given an award at the ICBF and Sheep Ireland genetics conference on January 17th 2020, with the overall winner being announced on the day. More information and tickets to the event can be found here.