Sheep: Getting the flock ready for breeding to improve genetic gain
Grass growth on the sheep block at Lyons was running at 50kg DM per ha per day last week and is following a similar pattern to last year when we saw grass growth pushing on into October.
The site we are grazing is dry so utilisation is not proving difficult, though this is in contrast to a lot of regions of the country where rainfall is making grazing more difficult.
We will begin to close paddocks for spring grazing in the next two weeks. We will need an average farm cover for turnout in Mid-March of 820 kg DM per ha.
With moderate spring growth on this site, we are looking at a closing farm cover of approximately 580 kg DM per ha.
Yesterday saw one of the busiest days of the year at Lyons with approximately 450 ewes and ewe lambs sponged was part of the Sheep Ireland Central Progeny Test program.
This is a project we have been involved in for the last seven years and the overall aim of the program is to improve the rate of genetic gain in the national flock through the generation of breeding values and hence indices for use when farmers are purchasing rams.
Ewes are in good condition with an average BCS of 3.5. The sponges remain in place for 12 days and ewes will be mated approximately 36 to 48 hours after sponge withdrawal.