Managing ewe lamb replacements from tupping to lambing to maximise output
Introduction The decision whether or not to breed replacement ewes as ewe lambs is one that every sheep producer faces annually, whether grazing the high hills or along the coast.  Delaying breeding until the second year has obvious advantages - it is much easier to ensure ewes are heavy enough for tupping; ewe fertility is generally better and management at lambing easier.  However, delayed breeding brings additional feed costs without generating any additional income to offset these costs.  Breeding replacements as ewe lambs can be equally as successful as breeding from adult ewes but the...

Using PLI to Breed for Profit
In the last 10 years, genetic indices for dairy cattle across the world have been moving toward the breeding of a more sustainable cow with a shift towards lifetime production rather than lactation production.  Consequently in the UK, we have moved from Profit Index (£PIN) which was totally production based to Profitable Lifetime Index (£PLI) which also includes non-productive traits such as fertility, lifespan and somatic cell count. Genetic trends in dairy cows have been for increasing milk production but this has led to declining genetic merit for butterfat and protein%, fertility and...

Independent Farmer Representatives Sought For Agrisearch Advisory Committees
  AgriSearch seeks to appoint one representative to each of its three sectoral advisory committees.   Independent Farmer Representatives (Dairy, Beef and Sheep Advisory Committees) The above persons should be actively involved in farming in the relevant sector. They should have a keen interest in both the local and wider agricultural industry. The AgriSearch Advisory Committees meet around four times per year.  They develop ideas for new research and review research proposals. By selecting research of practical benefit to farmers the advisory committees play an important part in...

Agrisearch Dairy Conference To Point The Way Forward For Sire Selection
There are some really positive trends happening in the genetics of Northern Ireland dairy herds and there is real room as we move forward for even higher rates of genetic gains in milk production and, in particular, health and fertility traits.  This is the background against which a project funded by AgriSearch and DARD is looking at selection goals to improve profitability in the Northern Ireland dairy industry.  Findings from this research programme will be presented by AFBI’s Alistair Carson at the forthcoming ‘PLI for profit’ conference, being organised by AgriSearch in conjunction with...

Dairy Farmer Co-Researchers Receive Update On Transition Cow Study
On Friday 9th September the 9 farmers involved in the Research Challenge Fund & AgriSearch Study on Transition Cow management met in AFBI, Hillsborough to be updated on the initial result from year one of the study. 567 cows were involved in first year of the study; the cows were divided up into two condition score groups.  Those at or above condition score 2.75 were in the ‘high’ group and those at or below BCS 2.5 were assigned to the low group. Cows in the lower condition score group were assigned to one of three treatments: 1. Silage only for the whole dry period 2. Silage and...