The opportunities for farmers to improve their returns from sheep farming will be the main focus of three Teagasc national sheep conferences in February.
The sector is facing into 2016 on an optimistic note, but the opportunity for technical improvements in on-farm production is still there to be exploited, according to Teagasc.
The Teagasc national sheep conferences will take place on Tuesday, February 2, in Ballinasloe, Co Galway, and on Thursday, February 4, in Gorey, Co Wexford. These are followed by a Teagasc hill sheep conference on Wednesday, February 17, in Ballybofey, Co Donegal. All conferences start at 5pm and run until 7.30pm.
Speaking in advance of the conferences, Michael Gottstein, head of sheep knowledge transfer in Teagasc, said: “We will be discussing the possibility of accelerating genetic improvement in the Irish sheep flock, with an update provided on the research work being carried out at the Teagasc Animal and Grassland Research and Innovation Centre in Athenry. The best genetics from New Zealand are currently being evaluated in Athenry and Irish genetics benchmarked against it.”
There will be a presentation on the effect that stocking rate and prolificacy have on the overall profitability of lowland sheep enterprises. Ben Anthony and Diana Fairclough, from the Farming Connect focus farm in Wales, will be sharing their experiences of ‘Setting up a profitable sheep farm’.
Budgeting and setting targets for finishing hill lambs will be discussed by Professor Michael Diskin, Teagasc sheep enterprise leader, at the hill sheep conference in Ballybofey, Co Donegal. There will also be papers on sustainably controlling liver fluke in sheep on hill farms. The importance of managing upland habitats on these farms will also be addressed.
The conferences are free of charge. To view the full programme for the lowland sheep conference click here.
For more information on the hill sheep conference click here.