For most ewe flocks, mating is about two months away, so it’s time to start thinking about rams. Management of rams in the two months prior to mating is critical from a ram fertility point of view.
Gather your rams, and do a full health check. In particular, pay attention to body condition, parasites and lameness.
If you have had a problem with ram fertility in the past, it may be a good idea to check mineral status (selenium) and speak with your vet.
Try to buy your replacement rams early.
There are two clear advantages:
You will have a bigger selection to pick from, compared to buying later in the season when a lot of rams will already have been sold. You will be able to give the ram time to acclimatise and get used to his surroundings before the demands of the mating season are upon him. Buy rams that have been performance recorded.
All the available evidence suggests that rams with high index scores produce more profitable sheep.
Key things to look out for are as follows: for terminal rams (rams that you intend to slaughter all the progeny from), you should consider selecting rams based on the terminal index. Also look at the subindex for lamb survival, for maternal rams that are being used to breed replacements, the main criteria should be the replacement index. for non- prolific breeds ( breeds other than Belclare, Bluefaced Leicester and Lleyn), you should select rams that are strong on number of lambs born. for the prolific breeds, you can focus on other traits such as daughters’ milk, etc.
Some of the attendance at last week’s Energy In Agriculture 2017 event at Gurteen Agricultural College, Co Tipperary, jointly organised by Teagasc, Tipperary Energy Agency, Tipperary County Council and the IFA, and sponsored by SEAI, Bord na Mona, and Gas Networks Ireland.