Tommy Boland: performance Measurement ewe has produced some amazing results

  • Tommy Boland: performance Measurement ewe has produced some amazing results
    FarmIreland.t. E.
    Recent rains Welcome to the Lyons farm, as it is throughout the country. We are seeing the growth of grass gradually restored, and the shower was certainly true for the Redstart, which are sown after harvesting the entire crop of wheat on July 27.
    https://www.independent.ie/business/farming/sheep/tommy-boland-measuring-ewe-efficiency-has-produced-some-surprising-results-37189514.html
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Recent rains Welcome to the Lyons farm, as it is throughout the country. We are seeing the growth of grass gradually restored, and the shower was certainly true for the Redstart, which are sown after harvesting the entire crop of wheat on July 27.

Redstart is a crop we used for sheep for several years in Lyon, and we are always happy with the performance of the crop and lambs grazing in it.

Grass growth during the recovery is still very slow on part of the farm where we are struggling to get into double-digit growth. To put context to our grass growth was last year, five times this week!

Twenty-five lambs were sold at a price of €5 per kg to 21 kg carcass on July 19.

They reached average carcass weight of 20.4 kg back €LVL 100.44 per head. Lambs weighed again at the time of writing.

One and perhaps the only advantage of the lack of rain fall, Lower parasite load in the pasture, and the lambs require less frequent drenching. We are quite happy with the lamb growth rates, as they do not receive any concentrate supplementation.

Our attention is once again turning to the sources of replacement stock for breeding herds.

At the moment, we are not keeping the replacement, but purchasing replacements every year. After a difficult spring we had, most of our culling decisions were taken out of our hands with the forced culling due to mastitis, especially.

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However, we still have the opportunity to explore individual performance of ewes remaining in the flock and use it to guide our decisions about what replacement purchase. We can say that 2018 is an unusual year, and You don’t have to make too many decisions based on last year.

I would agree with this to some extent, but would like to ask you a counter argument is that if the sheep will be able to perform well in such difficult circumstances, she can perform under any circumstances.

There is ongoing discussion about the future implementation of EID, especially in relation to who will bear the costs of the technology. I don’t want to enter that particular argument at the moment, but there are benefits to ID as well.

In Lyon we took advantage of EID tagging of lambs at birth for a number of years, which allows us to link lambs to their dams, and monitoring the performance of the ewe and lamb(s) for one or more years.

We use Kingswood software sheep from TGM to analyze the data, and it really is a very powerful tool when you spend a little time getting to know the system. I appreciate it’s not for everyone, but then what?

A recent addition to the software is the ability to determine the effectiveness of the ewe at different stages of the production cycle, such as eight weeks of age, which indicates ewe milk yield, or at weaning.

Figures ewe efficiency is expressed as kg of lamb(s) held by an individual sheep on a particular day, divided by the weight of ewes at mating.

Extremes

When I looked at the performance indicators, Lyons herd all the sheep which weaned at least one lamb we have seen that the individual figures ewe efficiency at weaning ranged from 20pcs to 182pc.

When I looked at the live weight, BCS, age, etc. animals at the extremes of this range, there was nothing important to tell us that it would be nine-fold difference in their effectiveness.

There are a number of factors that contribute to variations in efficiency, including lamb mortality, lamb birth weight, ewe milk yield, genetic potential for growth and litter size.

If we look in the litter, the efficiency of a single discharge ranges from 20 PCs to 88pc at weaning, and for twins ranges from 30-124pc. The fact is that having the ability to collect and use these data should lead to better decisions at the enterprise level, although the cost is not significant from the standpoint of necessary equipment.

The old adage ‘You cannot manage what you cannot measure’ certainly applies here.

Professor Tommy Boland is an associate Professor in the production of sheep on the farm Lyons, University College Dublin. @Pallastb tommy.boland@ucd.ie

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