Teagasc Sheep/Research Demo Farm

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Sheep Research/Demo Farm
Teagasc
Athenry
Philip Creighton
04th May 2012
Research Demo Farm
Objective:
•
To develop profitable and sustainable
pasture-based systems of sheep production
Key areas:
•
Stocking rate
•
Prolificacy
•
Grass supply and demand
•
Lamb performance at pasture
Sub Objectives
Describe treatment effects on:
• Feed requirements of systems
• Animal performance
• Pasture growth, utilisation and quality
• Economic impact
Research Focus
• Optimum Stocking rate (ewes/ha)
• Prolificacy (lambs weaned/ewe)
• Lamb growth rates pre /post weaning
• Finishing lambs from grass
• Working towards refining Breeding index
Research study
Stocking Rate
Low
Medium
High
(10 ewes/ha)
(12 ewes/ha)
(14 ewes/ha)
Prolificacy
Medium
High
(1.5 lambs weaned/ewe)
(1.8 lambs weaned/ewe)
Full system farmlets – self sufficient systems
Objective
• Investigate the effects of stocking rate and ewe
prolificacy on ;
• Lamb output/ewe and /ha
• Feed requirement and budgets
• Pasture growth and utilisation
• Overall system profitability
Closed system study
System study
• 6 groups – 60 animals per group = 360 ewes
• Medium prolific strain – Dominant breed type on
farm – Suffolk X ewe
• High prolific strain – Belclare X ewe
• Allow for comparison of the effects of stocking
rate and lamb output per ewe
Farm Layout
Management
Six independent farmlets
• 10 ewes/ha Medium Prolificacy (LM- Blue)
High Prolificacy (LH- Purple)
• 12 ewes/ha Medium Prolificacy (MM- Black)
High Prolificacy (MH- Red)
• 14 ewes/haMedium Prolificacy (HM- Yellow)
High Prolificacy (HH- Green)
Grassland measurements
• Full quantification of system
• Pre and post DM yields (utilisation)
• Daily herbage allowance
• Daily intake
• Pasture quality (weekly)
• Leaf, stem and dead (fortnightly)
• Farmlet areas – self sufficient- forage bought
in if not possible
• Feed budgets
Grass Utilisation
Grass production
• Potential from grass/clover system
Intake requirements/feed budget
• Ewes and Lambs
Grass measurement and budgeting
• Adoption
• Improving Sward Quality/content
• Suitability / Sustainability of Grass/clover
varieties
Animal performance
• Lamb performance at pasture
• Growth rate pre and post weaning
• Health
• Mortality
• Parasite challenge
• Drafting pattern
• Drafting rates
• grass budget – lambs finished or sold as
stores
Update
Scanning
Litter Size
Medium prolificacy
High prolificacy
Singles
29
19
Twins
135
120
Triplets
13
33
Quadruples
0
3
Barren
3
5
Avg Litter size
1.87
2.06
Raw data – not statistically analysed
Lambing 2012
•
•
•
•
Lambing commenced March 3rd
80% lambed in first 17days
95% lambed by end of March
Mortality
• Average ~9%
• HP ~11%
• MP ~7%
Birth date
12/04/2012
10/04/2012
08/04/2012
06/04/2012
04/04/2012
02/04/2012
31/03/2012
29/03/2012
27/03/2012
25/03/2012
23/03/2012
21/03/2012
19/03/2012
17/03/2012
15/03/2012
13/03/2012
11/03/2012
09/03/2012
07/03/2012
05/03/2012
03/03/2012
Lambs born/day
Lambing 2012
Lambing Spread 2012
90
80
70
60
50
40
30
20
10
0
Flock Health
• Ewe Mortality
• 3.5-4% (Jan-Mar 2012)
• Clostridia – Sordelli
• E- coli Mastitis
• Prolapse
• Meningitis
Grassland
• Paddocks closed rotationally from late October
• Growth rate of 3-4kg DM/day over winter (mild
conditions)
• First paddocks grazed cover of 1200-1300kg DM/ha (89cm)
• Very strong grass growth during March 30-60 kg DM/ha
/day
• 25% of farmlet areas removed in late March for silage
• Mild winter, Reseeded swards
• Further 15% of LSR farmlets removed in early April
• May need to graze some of this
Grassland
• Current situation
• Growth rate of ~35-40 Kg DM/ha/day
• ~10 days grass ahead @allowance of 3kg DM/head/day
• Intake ranging 2.8-3.2kg DM/day
• Silage removed to bring ground in
• 50-100% of winter feed requirements achieved
Grassland
• Plot work
• Clover persistency
• Athenry/Moorepark/DAFM
• Grazing with sheep
• Herbage mass
• Sward clover content
• Stolon mass + tiller density
• Quality
• Dept evaluation trial
• Cut and graze
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