It’s coming to that stage in the year where the focus switches to preparing for the upcoming breeding season, particularly for lowland flocks.
Although the breeding season might still feel a long way away yet for farmers, it is never too early to think about what the plan will be for the upcoming breeding period.
A host of ram sales are set to take place, across the country, towards the end of July heading into August.
If the plan is to buy in a ram, then the earlier you can bring in that ram(s) the better.
Leaving it last minute to bring in a ram can lead to a number of problems, that could ultimately prove costly.
There are a number of advantages with regard to buying replacement rams early.
- A larger selection of rams to choose from;
- Ability to have the ram on your farm, so that he can familiarise himself to his new surroundings and diet, for example, before the breeding season;
- Ability to complete a full quarantine period in order to avoid bringing in new disease/parasites into your flock.
Allowing a sufficient quarantine period before introducing a purchased ram to your flock of ewes cannot be underestimated.
Also, by buying in a ram early, it will allow you to build up his condition to where you want it to be prior to the breeding season, as leaving it late to buy a ram might not give you enough time to get him up to scratch in terms of body condition for the busy period.
According to Teagasc, a ram can lose up to 15% of its body condition over a six-week mating season, so it’s vital he is in good condition prior to being introduced to the flock.