SHEEP 2018: Looking to make an extra €5/ewe/year?
Crowds flocked to Teagasc Athenry for SHEEP 2018 and they were provided with a wealth of information when it comes to breeding.
One of the more interesting topics up for discussion on the day was the benefits that can be achieved by using a 5-star ram versus a 1-star ram.
Sheep Ireland programme manager Kevin McDermott pointed to recent research which found that flocks that consistently use 5-star rams – to breed factory lambs and replacements – see an extra €5/ewe/year profit.
When comparing the progeny of 5-star and 1-star rams (terminal index), McDermott said that the progeny of 5-star sires are 2.5-3.0kg heavier at weaning time.
The organisation had a demonstration on the day, which exhibited the progeny of these rams. He noted that farmers struggled to notice the difference between those sired by 5-star rams and those sired by 1-star rams until they were actually placed on the weighing scales.Also Read: Dealing with drought takes centre stage at SHEEP 2018
There are also benefits in terms of lambing ease and lamb survivability. Discussing results from the Central Progeny Test (CPT) programme, McDermott said that lambing difficulty is 5% less in 5-star sires than 1-star sires.
“You are also making gains at lambing time, not just when the lambs are going to the factory,” he noted.