Lamb growth is strong despite the weather
Published 03/06/2015 | 02:30
Since my last article, grass growth has doubled to 90kg of dry matter (DM) per hectare per day on the sheep grazing ground at Lyons.
This is supporting strong lamb growth rates, with an average live weight of 27.75kg for our twin lambs at 10 weeks of age. This equates to a growth rate from birth to 10 weeks of just under 310/g per day.
Growth has reduced in the past month as one would expect when lambs begin to transit from a predominantly milk diet onto a more grass-based diet.
The inclement weather has not helped and the high rainfall and reduced grass DM content has major impacts on grass DM intake.
Additionally, once lambs being to graze, intestinal parasites become more of an issue. Our lambs have received a Levamisole drench to control nematodirus. We are continuing to monitor parasite challenge closely with faecal egg counts being conducted every two weeks.
Lambs received an Animax cobalt bolus at 11 weeks of age and this will see the vast majority through to slaughter. If we did not supplement with cobalt here we would run into serious lamb growth problems after weaning.
Ewes and lambs continue to be foot-bathed fortnightly, using a formalin solution.
The Teagasc national farm survey results have just been released. In 2014 sheep farm incomes are reported to have increased by 24pc compared to 2013, with the average sheep farm returning an income of €14,551. This increase in income is driven by cost reduction rather than an increase in output value.