Act fast if your ewes are short on condition
Published 09/08/2011 | 05:00
The UCD sheep flock consists of 350 midseason lambing ewes, and is an important teaching and research resource for undergraduate and post-graduate students studying Agricultural Science in UCD.
It also serves in providing information to the wider sheep industry. Animals not used in research are run on a commercial basis and the flock is one of the central progeny test flocks for Sheep Ireland.
Our most recent batch of 67 lambs was slaughtered on Friday, July 29. These lambs averaged €99 with a kill-out percentage of 46pc. This is down on 16 lambs slaughtered on July 21 which had a kill-out percentage of 48pc and left €103/head.
We would be reasonably happy with the kill-out percentages and you would often see lower values at this time of year.
Lambs are grazing the second rotation after silage at this stage and there is a good clover content in the swards. Grass growth in the week-ending August 5 was 57kg DM/ha/day, significantly up on the previous week.
Half the lambs received a cobalt drench every fortnight, while the remainder received a cobalt bolus at weaning. Lambs receive a worm drench on a monthly basis and we rotate products every other year.
We are weighing lambs again today and will draft them from 42-43kg liveweight. We monitor growth rates on a fortnightly basis. Weaning took place on June 16 and since then lambs have gained 210g/day or just under 1.5kg/week. Ewe lambs are growing 25g/day slower than the wethers. We plan to breed about 100 ewe lambs again this year, which have been selected at this stage.
We select the majority of our ewe lambs based on the Eurostar ratings, although an additional 15 ewe lambs will be selected from the mule, greyface and halfbred progeny on the farm.