Teagasc, the agriculture and food development authority, will host a BETTER Farm sheep walk in Co. Kilkenny tomorrow.

This is the third farm walk in the series and it takes place on Brian Nicholson’s farm in Johnstown, Co. Kilkenny tomorrow, July 26.

The BETTER Farm Sheep Programme is led from Athenry by Michael Diskin and Frank Campion and has been developed in collaboration with Teagasc sheep specialists.

This spring, Nicholson lambed 1,100 sheep; this consisted of approximately 820 ewes and 300 ewe lambs. The ewes on Nicholson’s farm regularly scan 1.8-1.9 lambs per ewe joined to the ram. All of these lambs, with the exception of replacement ewe lambs, are carried to finish on farm.

The introduction of prolific sires, such as Belclare rams, has helped improve the prolificy of Nichloson’s flock in recent years.

And such sires are used to breed replacements with Texels in a criss-cross breeding programme.

Nicholson’s flock is also part of the Central Progeny Testing (CPT) programme and some 600 of his breeding ewes are served to AI each year to help identify the best sheep genetics available to Irish farmers.

Visitors to Nicholson’s farm will be provided with more information on the CPT programme as Sheep Ireland’s Eamon Wall will be present on the day.

Teagasc’s Dr. Philip Creighton will also discuss the benefits available to farmers through the use of a paddock grazing system.

The farm walk will kick off at 2:00pm and along with a focus on Nicholson’s system, Teagasc sheep specialists will also discuss grassland management, breeding and lamb performance targets.

Presentations will be given on the importance of selecting rams on the basis of both the terminal and replacement indices.

Participating farmers in the BETTER Farm Sheep Programme are implementing an individual animal performance recording programme for all sheep on the farm. This is based on EID recording results.

Farmers visiting the open day will be given an update on ewe performance (litter size and mortality) and lamb performance.

Knowledge Transfer approved sheep event

Farmers participating in the Knowledge Transfer (KT) scheme are required to attend five farm meetings or four meetings and one Department of Agriculture approved KT event.

The event outlined above has received approval from the Department of Agriculture and farmers participating in the KT scheme are encouraged to sign in with the department at the beginning of the open day. Click here for more details