STAP event made me rethink cull ewe plan
September is generally a busy month for me, but getting through jobs before the onset of winter has been fairly straight forward with the fine weather.
I expect to have about 80pc of my lambs drafted by the end of the month, which will extend the grazing season for my ewes. I intend to the let the rams out on October 5, so I have been going through the ewes regularly over the last month monitoring their body condition score (BCS).
The majority of the flock is at a BCS of 3-3.5. Any ewes that are less than this are being culled. There aren't too many, but if they haven't improved at this stage of the year I reckon they are not going to do much better as the year progresses, and often end up being problem cases.
I have shorn my replacement ewe lambs. They weighed in at 42-45kg and should be well fit to go to the ram in November.
By shearing them I find that they tend to thrive even better. It also prevents them from going on their backs next spring.
I also bought in some Easy-Care crossbred ewe lambs to give them a try. The benefits of Easy-Care sheep are very appealing in terms of their ease of lambing, hardiness and good mothering abilities. These are all traits that will reduce variable costs, which is the only hope we have of increasing the profitability of sheep farming.
I headed over to Athenry for my last discussion group event as part of my STAP. It was my first time to Athenry and I found it very impressive.
I liked the format of the day in that it got through the main points quickly and efficiently. An interesting point that was made in relation to culling sheep is that we often can be a bit hasty when it comes to culling ewes.