Ovine All Blacks are top of the flocks in Athenry
An elite flock of ewes imported by Teagasc Athenry from New Zealand are delivering higher lamb output than the best of their Irish counterparts.
Teagasc's Noirin McHugh said the early results of the trial involving 100 ovine All-Blacks showed their lambs record higher daily gains and were finishing at 155 days, compared to 164 days for lambs from their elite Irish counterparts.
"There are some farmers who would like to try out the New Zealand rams but we haven't released any for sale yet," said Ms McHugh.
"The big thing that the Irish farmers are looking for is the easy lambing and the fact our results are showing they have less lambing difficulty and require less labour at lambing seems to be the big advantage."
Two rams were put out on the Teagasc BETTER farms last year to assess how they are performing on commercial flocks.
The Teagasc trial of 180 ewes is comparing the New Zealand Suffolk-Texel cross ewes to an Irish high Euro-Star Suffolk -Texel flock and a low ranked flock.
The study reported similar birth weights but found that only 2.2pc of the Kiwi flock had birthing difficulties compared to 13pc of the elite Irish and 9pc of the low ranked Irish flocks.
This may be due to an emphasis over many years on easy lambing on larger farms in New Zealand, said Ms McHugh.