Farm Ireland

Friday 23 February 2018

Apply for sheep grants now to stop money going elsewhere

Timmy Fleming

All our remaining lambs have now been moved to a farm where we get annual winter grazing. There are about 70ac of after grass on this farm and we have 250 lambs there at present. They will get the best of the grass and we will put some ewes up there after Christmas.

Before moving the lambs we gave them a cobalt bullet and a worm dose (Genesis). We are allocating a further 20ac of grass which has been closed since being reseeded in late August for the early lambing flock which is due to lamb in three weeks time. It's pretty strong at this stage and what's worse is the ground conditions underfoot are not very good due to the rain we got over the last few weeks.

We have started closing up the first of the fields for the mid-March lambing flock. All rams are still out and we will be pulling out all rams on December 10. Our February lambing flock have been scanned at this stage. We sponged 60 ewes and we left two rams running with the main flock of ewes for a four-day period (around the time we pulled out the sponges). The results are a bit disappointing in so far as we only have 40 ewes that have scanned in lamb. Litter size is 1.63 which is just about OK. We have had 45 ewe lambs running with two rams since November 1. We will also take these up on December 10.

Since I last wrote, I had the pleasure of getting two inspections from the Department of Agriculture. The first one was for the sheep grassland scheme and involved examining the sheep, their tags and all documentation. The next day we had a REPS inspection. All went well -- we think.

We intend to apply for the new TAMS, sheep fencing/ mobile-handling equipment scheme. It's a handling unit we are after and our Teagasc adviser has just completed the application for me, so we hope to get out in the first tranche.

The scheme looks somewhat complicated but once you get into it, it's not actually that bad. I think it's important that sheep farmers apply for the money so it doesn't get moved elsewhere.

We have double tagged my lowland replacements with the mandatory EID and matching tag. They were nine months of age and we have this week ordered more tags to do the mountain replacements. We will tag these as soon as we get the tags.

It's the right time of year to tag them as the flies have been well and truly washed away by recent rain and cold weather.

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We will be dipping the mountain ewes and replacement ewe lambs this week before they go back up on to the hill. We will use Coopers Ectoforce as we have some left over from last summer. In addition to being dipped, we will also treat all ewes for liver fluke with Flukiver.

Two weeks ago we sent some lambs to the factory through our local factory agent as the Ring of Kerry Quality Lamb group has been unable to take all of our lambs at this time of year. This is because many of the other members have lots of lambs coming on stream at the moment. They killed just over 20kg, which is a bit less than they would have killed if they went through the group. I put this down to the time spent in transit plus the fact that they are weighed without the liver in the factory, which is not the case with the lamb group.

We intend to sell the last of the older ewes at the mart today. Once they are gone we will have a pretty fresh bunch of ewes which should make things a bit easier next year.

Timmy Fleming runs 650 ewes beside Killarney National Park and is chairman of the Ring of Kerry Lamb Group

Irish Independent