The flock’s scor­ing av­er­ages have im­proved this sea­son

Irish Independent - Farming - - FARM OUR - JOHN LARGE

WITH ALL ewes hav­ing un­der­gone AI in two groups on Oc­to­ber 16 and 18, the pres­sure is off for another year.

They were two big days of work, but with plenty of help and a good plan all went well. The ewes were in good con­di­tion with 95pc on a 3.5 body con­di­tion score (BCS) or bet­ter. The num­ber of ewes un­der 3.5 BCS is down to 1pc this year from 5pc in 2016.

Our av­er­age ewe weight also in­creased by nearly 3kg to 73kg. They ranged from 47kg to 101kg.

The num­ber of ewes lame also de­creased from 11pc to 4pc.

Do­ing small things bet­ter such as di­vid­ing ewes af­ter wean­ing and look­ing af­ter their feet pays re­sults and the ewes be­come a more uni­form group at mat­ing.

We used 21 rams from four dif­fer­ent breeds — Texel, Suf­folk, Charol­lais and Bel­clare. We have the ewes di­vided into three groups and rams were let out to them last Satur­day to pick up the re­peats. They will be re­moved the first week of De­cem­ber.

The 160 ewe lambs will all go to the ram the same day so they will lamb with the re­peat ewes in April.

The rams will be re­moved De­cem­ber 1 and ewes not in lamb will be kept dry for the sum­mer.

The dif­fer­ence be­tween hogget ewes that reared lambs and the ones dry for the first year was 7kg in weight and half a con­di­tion score in body con­di­tion.

The dry ones also seem a lot wilder and we have also no­ticed at lamb­ing time th­ese dry hoggets can be slow to take to their lambs.

Our ewe lambs this year are well grown and all over 45kg. They av­er­aged 47kg when weighed last week.

They all got dosed for worms and re­ceived a min­eral bo­las, that will last for six months. They have been moved to rented grass which should could keep them well fed un­til next Jan­uary.

Graz­ing

We are try­ing to graze out fields well be­fore clos­ing up for next spring. With the weather so wet, ground con­di­tions are not help­ful. We are find­ing it hard to get down to 4cm — the last field was more like 6cm.

We will go back in af­ter a few weeks and graze again to get more of that poor qual­ity grass grazed off so that it won’t im­pact next spring’s new growth. This later graz­ing will af­fect the amount of grass on the field next spring.

The lambs on the fod­der rape are do­ing ok, but not as well as last year.

Again weather is the main prob­lem. The crop seems to have stopped grow­ing since the ground got wet in mid-Septem­ber.

The dry parts of the field seem to be stronger and greener than the rest of the field.

We will go through th­ese lambs and pick off any that are fit for sale. Kill out will be bet­ter than off grass so we will pick from 44kg up­wards.

Af­ter this draft we will in­tro­duce some meal to the re­main­ing lambs.

The field of fod­der rape sown af­ter spring bar­ley on Septem­ber 6 is very poor and will not feed much lambs. So it is best to feed them now and have them gone by De­cem­ber.

Our next jobs are to do some re­pairs to the feed rails in one shed and get the farm yard ma­nure spread be­fore the cut off date in Novem­ber.

John Large farms in Co Tip­per­ary

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