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 award for the “Most Improved LambPlus Flock 2019” is a great opportunity to reward those flocks who have made significant genetic gains in the past few years. The five finalists for the Most Improved LambPlus Flock 2019 award were Ciaran Coughlan (Noggus Vendeens), Ferbane, Co. Offaly, Flor Ryan (Lawn Texels), Prosperous, Co. Kildare, Maria Philpott (Duhallow Charollais), Kanturk, Co. Cork, Ornaith Clarke (Trojan Texels), Boyerstown, Co Meath and Rosemary Madden and Etienne Pinot (Crannóg Texels), Rathfeigh, Co. Meath. These five flocks were selected based on a number of flock attributes with a special focus on the improvement in their replacement and terminal indexes, improved index accuracies and improved flock DQI. The improvement in each of these flocks was impressive and we have no doubt they will all be pushing for the prize of Highest Achieving LambPlus Flock in 2020.
The flock profile of each of the finalists as well as a breakdown of how these flock stood out from the crowd can be found here: Ciaran Coughlan (Noggus Vendeens), Flor Ryan (Lawn Texels), Maria Philpott (Duhallow Charollais), Ornaith Clarke (Trojan Texels) and Rosemary Madden and Etienne Pinot (Crannóg Texels).
On the day of the conference Ornaith Clarke was announced as the overall winner of the “Most Improved LambPlus Flock 2019” and received the top prize of €500 while the other four finalists received €250 each.
Congratulations again to all our finalists and we hope to see even more flocks in contention for the awards in 2020.