“The results of research on ewe lifetime performance, shortly to be released in the Republic of Ireland by Teagasc, will throw new light on how best to increase the performance levels achieved by the lowland sheep sector.
“Fundamentally, there are a number of key factors which impact on flock output. These include ewe prolificacy and longevity, nutrition of the pregnant ewe and grassland management.
“But the scope to improve sheepmeat output is already obvious. Currently, performance figures from many lowland sheep farms confirm a weaning rate of 1.25 lambs per ewe served. This compares with scanning rates of 1.75 to 1.9 lambs per ewe ”
The Provita representative went on to confirm one of the most interesting trends identified by the current Teagasc project as the ability and necessity for triplet bearing ewes to rear all of their own lambs.
“This can be achieved by managing these ewes more effectively and providing all lambs born with the best possible start,” he added.
“And, of course, research carried out by AFBI and CAFRE in Northern Ireland over the last number of years has also confirmed the potential to improve the efficiency of sheep production, both in lowland and hill scenarios. Amongst other things, this work has identified the impact of lameness on flock performance, and the need to maintain effective worming and fluking strategies. Research on easy lambing systems is also proving invaluable to the sheep sector as a whole.”
Tommy Armstrong also pointed out that lamb prices are forecast to remain reasonably stable over the next 12 months. However, given the excellent condition of ewes throughout the 2014 breeding season, the potential for excellent lamb crops across Northern Ireland in 2015 is extremely high.”
“The challenge facing local flockowners is that of maximising this potential over the coming months and beyond that again,” he further explained.
“At Provita we have long recognised the potential to increase sheep and lamb output in Northern Ireland. We have invested significantly in developing a range of products, which allow flock owners to meet this requirement in full. And this is an ongoing commitment on our part.”