Although it may be a distance idea for most farmers, consideration for next year’s Easter lamb should be coming to the forefront in the coming weeks.
Easter Sunday 2016 falls one week earlier than this year on March 27 in 2016 and with this in mind, Teagasc has advised sheep farmers to set March 20 as a target for selling the lambs, further to that lambing should take place 14 to 16 weeks prior.
Extra fodder and housing but looking at the coming weeks farmers should be closely monitoring the condition of breeding ewes and rams and ensuring a disease prevention management is in place and active.
The breeding programme employed is pivotal in successfully producing the early lamb, according to Teagasc and this can be achieved either by introducing a more suitable breed to the flock or going down the path of flushing ewes.
It says that these are key factors when considering for next years market due to high cost and the opportunity of making a profit may be slim.
Grass growth with the ongoing spell of excellent weather for silage making is well under way but ensuring regrowth is vital.
With the need for ewes and rams to be successful a high body condition score is necessary and this can be either achieved through supplementing the diet with concentrates or allowing them access to a high performance grass.
With Easter falling a week earlier than this year it may be required to house the lambs for a longer period depending on the weather conditions, Teagasc says and that it’s critical to planning ahead and establish the correct facilities for the lambing season.