Weekly Update: 30/01/2015

Weekly Update: 30/01/2015

Teagasc Hill sheep conference 2015

A great crowd attended this event on Wednesday evening (28th January). One of the speakers, Mr. Sam Wharry, Sheep farmer from Northern Ireland and Chairman of the N.S.U., delivered an excellent presentation which was especially relevant to performance recording and Sheep Ireland. Performance recording of Blackface Mountain sheep is deemed by many as an almost impossible task. Sam admitted that it took a number of years to build enough data to allow him to make useful decisions. Once a number of year’s data was captured, he could then make very informed breeding decisions each year. By culling out problem ewes in association with making use of EBVs from Signet, Sam’s flock output has made huge © Irish Cattle Breeding Federation Society Limited 2013. Page 3. progress in a difficult farming environment. Sam’s experience is an example to all Blackface Mountain ram breeders and demonstrates the gains that can be made by collecting performance data and making decisions based on genetic evaluations. This was an excellent event with great messages from all speakers.

 

Sheep Ireland Board Meeting

Topics covered at the Sheep Ireland Board meeting on Thursday this week included:

  • Update reports were presented on LambPlus, MALP, CPT and Ovigen. It was reported that 600 pedigree ram breeders have signed up to LambPlus for 2015, with just 26 breeders choosing to record their data by paper. The benefits of this very high level of online recording will be numerous for both the breeder and the Sheep Ireland office.
  • CPT scanning has been concluded and the results were discussed. An average conception rate to AI of 77.6% was recorded, with a high of 85% down to a low of 67%. The low conception rate on one of the flocks is worrying to the board and a number of possible reasons are currently being explored as described in our update last week.
  • Plans are in place for a round of meetings with our CPT and MALP farmers. Our MALP programme has evolved dramatically since its birth in 2009. From using DNA analysis to assign the parentage of lambs born, through to our current programme of single sire mating, there have been many lessons learned through the years. While the recording practices have changed through the years, the objectives of MALP have always remained the same:
  1. To demonstrate the benefits of using high starred LambPlus rams in a commercial setting.
  2. To demonstrate to the industry that collecting data on LambPlus rams and performance recording in a commercial sheep flock is possible.
  3. To develop a commercial performance recording model that can be used by other sheep farmers.
  4. To generate independent, commercial, grass based performance data to contribute to the €uroStar evaluations. All the above objectives contribute to one aim, that is, to provide better €uroStar evaluations to Irish commercial farmers using LambPlus recorded rams. The key is that we do this in a manner that is sustainable into the future.
  • All the above objectives contribute to one aim, that is, to provide better €uroStar evaluations to Irish commercial farmers using LambPlus recorded rams. The key is that we do this in a manner that is sustainable into the future.

Sheep Ireland LambPlus ram sale 2015

The Sheep Ireland board has decided to go ahead with another LambPlus ram sale for 2015. All the details of this sale are yet to be finalised, but there was an acceptance that the recent year’s format, location etc. has been working very well. Final plans for this sale will be included in this update in the coming weeks.