The number of lambs being entered on the Sheep Ireland database has exceeded the 1,500 mark. According to Sheep Ireland, this is well ahead of where it was this time last season.

“This bodes well for what will hopefully be our best performance recording season yet,” it added.

Last week Sheep Ireland travelled to Westport to meet with its MALP maternal lamb producer flocks in that region.

According to an update from Sheep Ireland: “All participants were present and there was some great discussion. 2013 was a big year for these West MALP flocks. We introduced the TGM software packages across all the flocks, it was the first year of tagging lambs at birth, and the introduction of artificial insemination in the past mating season.”

It noted there were all major changes to the previous MALP programme and that all changes were embraced in a “hugely enthusiastic manner” by the farmers involved.

“The flocks have recently concluded pregnancy scanning so the results of our AI campaign are now known,” it outlined. “The objective of the AI programme was to increase the level of linkage across all of the flocks and it has been a major success. If anything, it has been too successful as the farmers have recorded a high level of twin and triplet bearing ewes that were artificially inseminated. This is where the value of carrying out the pregnancy scan pays dividends,” it added.

According to Sheep Ireland, these twin and triplet ewes will now be segregated from the main flock and given special treatment in the run-up to lambing.

“The farmers can now put plans in place to prepare for carrying out some lamb adoptions on to single bearing ewes. If it is decided to organise a project similar to this in future involving Blackface sheep, we can perhaps reassess the level of PMSG hormone used in advance of insemination,” it added.