The Irish Grassland Association (IGA) held its sheep conference and farm walk yesterday (Thursday, May 19) for the first time in person since 2019.

Having moved online the past two years due to Covid-19, the annual event was back in person and witnessed a strong turnout.

The conference was opened by the IGA president Christy Watson, who took a few minutes to mark the association’s landmark 75th anniversary last year and gave a quick history lesson from the beginning to where the association is today.

The conference, at the Hodson Bay Hotel, Athlone, Co. Westmeath saw the IGA sheep chairperson, Alan Bohan, preside over the morning session.

This segment saw three speakers, Ryan Duffy, from pharmaceutical company, Hipra; Philip Creighton, Teagasc; and Roger Bell, a sheep farmer from Northern Ireland address attendees.

The three speakers addressed pertinent topics including mastitis control, incorporating clover into your sheep sward and the challenges and benefits of operating a large-scale, multi-enterprise grassland livestock system.

The afternoon session took place on the farm of Peadar and Aoife Coyle, who farm 230ac near Curraghboy, Co. Roscommon.

The Coyles have a number of enterprises on the farm including a flock of 575 mid-season lambing ewes, a 40-cow suckler to weanling system, and a dairy calf-to-beef system, finishing 50 bullocks annually.

The weather stayed fine during the tour of the farm which saw a number of stands set up discussing various topics, which included: An overview of the farm; grazing infrastructure; grassland management / soil fertility; the sheep enterprise and its performance; fertiliser use on the farm; and the incorporation of clover.

Stay tuned to Agriland for more on the conference and farm walk.