A sheep open day will be hosted by Teagasc in the Animal and Grassland Research and Innovation Centre, Athenry, Co Galway, on Saturday 18 June, with the event set to place a special emphasis on feeding flocks amid high fertiliser and meal costs.

Workshops and practical demonstrations will be held on grassland management, breeding, animal health and production systems.

The open day, free to farmers to attend, will begin at 10am and is sponsored by FBD.

The results of hill lamb finishing trials will be showcased at the open day, with farmers presented with the opportunity to talk with the researchers, students and farm technical staff working on the various sheep studies under way at Athenry.

Farmers can hear about the differences in performance of hill-bred lambs finished on forage rape, hybrid brassica, kale, perennial ryegrass reseeds, permanent pasture and ad-lib concentrates.

Rising input costs

Teagasc sheep enterprise leader Phillip Creighton stated that farmers should utilise technologies and advice to navigate high production costs.

“Input costs have increased on all farms this year, so it is more important than ever to use the latest technologies and technical information on your farm to try and offset some of the costs of inflation,” said Creighton.

“There will be a mix of technical presentations and interactive workshops dealing with all the main areas important to Irish sheep production,” he said.

Latest information

Sustainable worm control strategies will be covered as part of the sheep health discussions in Athenry.

Research examining sheep intake of white clover, red clover, plantain or chicory in perennial ryegrass swards will be relayed to farmers, stated Teagasc's head of sheep knowledge transfer Michael Gottstein.

“White clover swards and other companion forages will have a more important role to enhance animal performance and deal with the economic and environmental challenges facing the sector,” he said.

“Similarly, the latest up-to-date information on maternal genetic index selection and validation work for sheep will be available at the open day, as well as how replacement strategies and management can impact ewe longevity and output,” he added.