Technology transfer takes top priority at Teagasc SHEEP 2018

Thousands of people attended the SHEEP 2018: Farm to Fork event in Teagasc on Saturday last, July 7.

Officially opening the event,  Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine Andrew Doyle said:

“This is the highlight of the year for sheep farmers and all other stakeholders in the sector, in terms of being able to interact and acquire knowledge in all areas of sheep production which will help drive the future profitability of the sector.”

Technology transfer

At the open day there was a strong emphasis on technology transfer relating to all aspects of sheep production.

These included: grassland; breeding; flock health; nutrition; hill sheep; Teagasc BETTER sheep farms; the environment; health and safety; meat industry and markets; education; and wool.

Factual and informative stands on farm partnerships, inheritance and farm management were also on display.

Teagasc director, Prof. Gerry Boyle emphasised the importance of good grassland management on sheep farms to produce quality lamb.

Genomics

He also stressed the increasing role that genomics is playing in sheep breeding.

The Teagasc INZAC flock is demonstrating that high-index Irish ewes are outperforming low-index ewes, while the suitability of New Zealand ewes to an Irish system is also being examined.

Genetics, through the use of the Sheep Ireland €uro-Stars, in addition to physical attributes, can be a powerful tool in assisting farmers when purchasing rams which will best suit their production system.

Genetic improvement is permanent as long as breeders follow a consistent breeding plan and consistently purchase high genetic merit rams.

The dedicated ‘Food Village’, which included food science, cooking demonstrations, artisan food, and food markets, was a “hive of activity” for all the families in attendance, according to Teagasc.

Galway

SHEEP 2018 was one of the flagship events in the 2018 European Region of Gastronomy Programme in Galway. The Teagasc food research team highlighted the science behind food production.

Sheep production is a significant contributor to the agricultural and national economy producing 67,000t of sheepmeat valued at more than €320 million annually.

Over the past number of years, there has been a small but steady increase in sheep numbers, which currently stand at 2.6 million ewes in 36,313 flocks, according to Teagasc.

The booklet for the event is available from the Teagsc website here.