Per­se­ver­ance is pay­ing off for the Mayo Mules

Irish Independent - Farming - - FARM OUR - TOM STAUNTON

THE sales sea­son started for us with last week’s Pre­mier Mayo Mule and Grey­face sale in Ballinrobe.

This sale has gone from strength to strength over the last 30 years and is the long­est stand­ing Mule sale in the coun­try.

We have two ram sales — the Blue­faced Le­ices­ter and West of Ire­land La­nark ram — sale on Septem­ber 16 and we have the next Mayo Mule sale on Septem­ber 9 and the Mayo Black­face sale on Septem­ber 23.

It is en­cour­ag­ing to see these sales go­ing from strength to strength. It doesn’t hap­pen overnight.

The very first Mayo Mule sale in Ballinrobe over 30 years ago be­gan with about 100 lambs and now the groups sells 5,000 breed­ing sheep per year. It’s a smi­lar trend for the Mayo Black­face sale that started with 400 sheep and this year has 2,800 on of­fer.

The growth and suc­cess of these can be put down to farm­ers pulling to­gether and pro­vid­ing qual­ity stock to farm­ers all over Ire­land.

In prepa­ra­tion for the sales we cleaned out all the sheds to have them ready if needed to house sheep the night be­fore the sale.

The lamb­ing area will be washed down and dis­in­fected in prepa­ra­tion for next spring. Hy­giene is crit­i­cally im­por­tant when lamb­ing in­doors. With the sheds cleaned out, this made space for straw. I bought a load of straw early this year.

I didn’t really know how much I was go­ing to need last year and I bought it in bits and pieces. It was some­times dif­fi­cult to source. Af­ter a year of lamb­ing in­doors, I now know the amount needed and I bought it all in one go.

The Blue­faced Le­ices­ter ewes on the farm are cur­rently be­ing flushed for the com­ing sea­son.

They were dosed with a min­eral drench, wormer and were dipped. They will re­ceive flush­ing min­eral buck­ets for the mat­ing sea­son.

These ewes will be sponged in batches a few days apart and will the first of my ewes to lamb down dur­ing the spring­time in late Fe­bru­ary. Like the ewes, the rams are get­ting ready for the next few months. I usu­ally feed the rams oats this time of year and check that they are fit for tip­ping.

It is en­cour­ag­ing to see the price of lamb in the fac­tory ahead of last year and it has re­mained healthy for the past few months.

I have Mule wether lambs for sell­ing this month and I hope these will make 19-21kg car­casses. I find that the weight of the lamb is not the only thing that de­ter­mines whether the lamb is fit for slaugh­ter. The body con­di­tion is es­sen­tial. Cur­rent re­ports in­di­cate lambs killing out poorly.

Mayo Mule sale re­port and pho­tos, page 21.

Tom Staunton farms in Tour­makeady, Co Mayo

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