Recent weeks have been extremely busy across sheep central progeny test (CPT) flocks. These flocks are Sheep Ireland’s trial flocks, which use artificial insemination.

According to Sheep Ireland’s latest update, the flocks have passed the halfway mark at this stage in terms of lambing and things have gone very well up to this point, helped in no small part by the dry weather.

It said as of Thursday last, CPT farmer John Large had 685 lambs loaded on to the Sheep Ireland database, Andrew Moloney 526 lambs and James Napper 614. Sheep Ireland noted this data is invaluable to its genetic evaluations and will greatly improve the linkage and accuracy across a large proportion of pedigree ram breeding flocks involved in LambPlus.

In its update Sheep Ireland said: “We visited the flock of John Large on Tuesday to see how progress was going. On the previous day 170 lambs had been tagged, weighed and scored for lambing difficulty and things were running extremely smoothly.”

It noted: “There has been a high number of triplet lambing ewes on the farm this year so the fostering of extra lambs onto single bearing ewes is high priority. John tries to wet foster as many lambs as possible as it is without doubt the most successful way to ‘trick’ the ewe. There are also a number of fostering crates (see picture) employed to deal with the more stubborn ewes.”

It added: “Lambs are moving to the fields on a daily basis. They are being left in small groups for the first day or two to acclimatize to their new surroundings before being joined into larger grazing groups. Grass is available to the freshly lambed ewes, with approx. 4-5cms in fields were ewes are being released, fertiliser has been applied this week also to maximise the growth that has kicked off with the recent rise in temperatures.“