Some timely rains saw the sheep farmers in Donegal to avoid the most severe consequences of drought

  • Some timely rains saw the sheep farmers in Donegal to avoid the most severe consequences of drought
    FarmIreland.t. E.
    This report is the latest update from the sheep farm Michael Duffy in Kerrykeel, 23 km North of Letterkenny on the Fanad Peninsula in Donegal.
    https://www.independent.ie/business/farming/sheep/some-timely-rainfall-has-seen-sheep-farmers-in-donegal-escape-the-worst-of-the-drought-37190530.html
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This report is the latest update from the sheep farm Michael Duffy in Kerrykeel, 23 km North of Letterkenny on the Fanad Peninsula in Donegal.

Unlike the South and East of Ireland, Michael Duffy, along with most other farmers in the North-Western part of Ireland, has a great three months of cultures, starting mid-may.

This is in sharp contrast to the conditions experienced in 2017 and in many previous years, when there was rain and bad ground conditions the norm.

During the drought are beginning to threaten some farms about a month ago, 30 mm of rain for several days about three weeks ago and a small amount of precipitation, and to eliminate the deficit of soil moisture at all but a few farms that are on very sandy soils.

Updating Of The Herd

Michael said that he was “a little tight for grass in July,” but he lacked the grass.

On July 1, he started weaning his flock, when his lambs were about 14 weeks.

He cut the wool from his sheep and hoggets sucked then and divided them into three groups depending on the evaluate body condition (BCS) as follows: thin (30pcs), medium (50pcs) and fat (20pcs).

“I was very happy with the flock average BCS, and any cull ewes that were in good condition were sent to the slaughterhouse,” said Michael.

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When I headed in may to Spain for the break, I had no idea what I’m going to take the weather back with me.

“I had a good supply of herbs, so my thin ewes were given high-quality grass to help them get back to target condition score of 3.5 at mating. I’m not going to starve or restrict any remedy, or fat sheep, as I know from past experience that it is very important that they are in perfect condition to go to the RAM in October.”

Currently, Michael 50pcs his sheep effect of creep.

These get a dose of cobalt every 12-14 days and Michael were “very satisfied” with their performance to date.

The remaining 50pcs (which was on the grass-the only mode to weaning) is now 0.5 kg of flour (in the gutter) with weaning plus cobalt every two weeks. Michael killed 180 lambs to date from may (approx. 33pc).

It has 65 ewe lambs selected for replacement, which leaves 485 lambs. Michael said: “I Have a lot ahead of the lambs to be killed in August, which is a complete contrast to the previous years”.

Upgrade Pastures

Michael described the growth of the grass today as “unstable, but good enough.” He went on to say that “come the growth spurts which have left the control of complex and quality mix”.

He described his use of fertilizers know as “normal”. At the moment it has a surplus of grass, and with his own lambs to play, so he bought last week at some store lambs.

He purchased 350 and on the farm.

He focused on buying directly from the farm of origin this year to minimize the risk of disease.

He also said that “based on the growth of the grass today this year I’m going to increase your ewe numbers for 2019 about 10pcs”. Michael took advantage of the nice weather and sub-soiled about 10 acres of land.

He also decided to replace/improve drainage in a wet corner of the field. He distributed 40 tons of ground limestone in 2018 and will extend to 40 later if the soil will hold.

Silage and feed for the winter

Michael said that he was “about 125pc my winter feed requirement at the present time”.

“I took my first cut on 29 may,” he said.

“Navalny was a little back in 2017, but the quality should be excellent. I immediately manure and grass was planted about 10 days later, before the dry weather came.

“Since then I have done 140 round bales of silage and 20 bales of hay.”

About 50 bales of hay from second with the remaining scheduled for silage and hay imported from the grazing paddocks, which were surplus to the requirements of the action.

Control Of The Parasite

In my last report, I noted that ORF and scald was a problem.

You receive the ORF-M, worked at a refinery and regular foot bathing accounting Scald at Bay.

Michael gave three worm drench lambs today.

White Benzimidazole/ ‘wormer in may for Nematodirus in June with Levamisole / yellow wormer’ wet and Macrocyclic lactone / “clear” in July wormer (Ivermectin).

Because of the dry weather until now worms were not a serious problem. This is likely to change quite quickly, given the amount of rain in the last two weeks.

Plans For The Future

Michael will focus on pasture management prior to mating.

He wants to keep his lambs execution, to make bought of the lambs settled in and gain weight and get all his sheep in the BCS of 3.5 at mating.

He also hopes to purchase 35 replacement ewe lambs (1/4 Belclare). He will buy from the same farmer that he used in 2016 and 2017.

He plans to have 350 ewes and 100 ewe lambs to the RAM this year.

John cannon is the Committee Advisor based in Letterkenny, Co Donegal email: john.cannon@teagasc.ie

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