Perseverance is paying off for the Mayo Mules
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