Duration Team and Leader  A.Carson Organisations Involved Agricultural Research Institute of Northern Ireland, Agricultural Economics Division, Newforge Lane and Scottish Agricultural College. Background and Summary Stratified crossbreeding programmes are a key feature of the Northern Ireland sheep industry. In this, hill breed ewes are mated with crossing sires producing breeding ewe replacements for the lowland sector. Thus, changes in the genetics of the ewes and rams are likely to have major implications for the performance of lowland breeding ewes. An ARINI on-farm...

Duration 2 years Team and Leader  Alistair Carson, Lynne Dawson (ARINI) and Steven Johnston (CAFRE) Organisations Involved ARINI and CAFRE Background and Summary From an economic and welfare perspective there is a clear need to develop sheep management systems fro the Northern Ireland sheep industry requiring lower levels of intervention at lambing through reductions in the incidence of dystocia in ewes and new born lamb care.  On recorded lowland flocks across Northern Ireland data indicates that with lambing systems between 20 to 30% of ewes require assistance at...

Duration October 2001 to December 2006 Team and Leader  Alistair Carson Organisations involved Alistair Carson, (ARINI), Lynne Dawson (ARINI), Bruce Moss, (Food Science Division, DARD) Background and Summary The Northern Ireland hill sheep industry is facing major challenges. Over the past decade a decline in market returns, particularly for hill breed lambs, has put the industry under sustained financial pressure. An increasing proportion of out put is in the form of support payments which are now moving to an area based system and are becoming increasingly linked with...

Duration Team and Leader  Alistair Carson Organisations Involved Alistair Carson, (ARINI), Lynne Dawson (ARINI) Background and Summary With the sheep industry under sustained financial pressure options to reduce cost in lowland sheep production systems need urgent investigation. Reducing the level of labour input is particularly important as this represents the largest single input associated with sheep production. Outdoor lambing may be an important component of lower labour input systems.  To address these issues a two year study, part-funded by AgriSearch, is being...

Duration  Team and Leader Alistair Carson Organisations Involved Alistair Carson and Lynn Dawson, ARINI. Background and Summary Reducing the labour requirements of sheep production systems is a key issue for the Northern Ireland sheep industry. Survey data indicates that 4 to 8 hours per ewe are required for lowland sheep production systems involving intensive shepherding indoor lambing systems.  A large-scale on-farm study funded by Agrisearch and DARD has shown the potential for controlled grass-based lambing systems to reduce feed costs and the labour requirement of...