Farm Ireland

Sunday 22 April 2018

Sheep Ireland raising the bar

Sheep breeders have been urged to continue their support for improved breeding information to contribute to greater profitability.

Introducing the new Sheep Ireland Guide James Murphy, chairman said that while there continues to be a core group of committed sheep farmers, the Teagasc National Farm Survey shows that the average farm income on sheep farms is only €16,137.

"These farmers deserve to be supported and helped as they try to maintain and grow their family farm income from their sheep flocks," the South East Regional Chairman of IFA and former chairman of the IFA Sheep Committee said.

He said that one of the new developments that had been implemented this year by Sheep Ireland is a pilot project in conjunction with Meat Industry Ireland where they capture factory carcass data on selected groups of lambs with a view to including this data into the €uroStar indexes.

"We believe this is a very important step in making the indexes even more useful to commercial sheep farmers and look forward to expanding this project even further next year," he said.

The number of pedigree flocks participating with Sheep Ireland to produce genetic evaluations for their rams continues to grow steadily and now sits at over 600 breeders. Around 25pc of the rams being purchased annually now have genetic indexes and the intention is to strive for continued steady growth in this area, increasingly trust the indexes being produced and see benefit in using 5 and 4 star rams, particularly with indexes that have high accuracy.

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