ICBF and Sheep Ireland held their annual genetics conference at the Heritage Hotel, Killenard, Co. Laois on Friday the 17th of January. The event was very well attended with a great mix of people from all sections of the Irish agricultural industry as well as a number of attendees from overseas. The event included three morning sessions running concurrently for dairy, beef and sheep followed by a panel discussion and a speech on social licence relating to Irish agriculture delivered by our keynote speaker Senator Ian Marshall.
A highlight of the conference for many is the award ceremony where ICBF and Sheep Ireland acknowledge the hard work and dedication of farmers all across Ireland improve the genetics of their herds and flocks, not just for themselves but for their customers and the wider industry
There were two sheep awards up for grabs on the day, one for the “Highest Achieving LambPlus Flock 2019” and one for the “Most Improved LambPlus Flock 2019”. The aim of these awards was to reward LambPlus members for their efforts with each finalist receiving a framed certificate and the overall winner receiving an eye-catching trophy. As well as the framed certificates and trophies the finalists also received a generous cash prize with the Sheep Ireland awards having a total prize fund of €3,500.
The three finalists for the Highest Achieving LambPlus Flock 2019 were Eoghan Barrett (Alloon Belclares), Ballymacward, Co. Galway, Finbarr Godfrey (Cregeen Charollais), Kilgarvin, Co. Kerry and John Renehan (Violet Hill Belclares), Johnstown, Co. Kilkenny. These three flocks were selected from the Sheep Ireland data base based on a number of flock attributes including replacement and terminal indexs, index accuracies and flock DQI followed by a phone interview on their breeding strategies and involvement in the LambPlus programme. Each of these three flocks performed exceptionally well in 2019 with all with DQIs above 90% and each excelling on the Replacement and Terminal indexes within their own breeds.The flock profile of each of the finalists as well as a break down of how these flock stood out from the crowd can be found here: Eoghan Barrett (Alloon Belclares), Finbarr Godfrey (Cregeen Charollais) and John Renehan (Violet Hill Belclares).
On the day of the conference John Renehan was announced as the overall winner of the “Highest Achieving LambPlus Flock 2019” and received the top prize of €1,000 while both Eoghan Barrett and Finbarr Godfrey received €500 each as finalists.
Congratulations again to all our finalists and we hope to see even more flocks in contention for the awards in 2020.