Host farmer Alan Montgomery (left) with Dr Alistair Carson AFBI, Hillsborough

Feeding ewes in late pregnancy this year will present challenges on many farms.  Lower quality forage and ewes in poorer body condition will require attention in developing appropriate feeding regimes.  This will be discussed at farm events organized by AFBI, AgriSearch, CAFRE and NSA.  All with a 2 pm start, these farm events will be hosted by Ian Buchanan, Dungiven on Tues 15 Jan, Francis and John McHenry, Moss-side Wed 16 Jan and Alan Montgomery, Killough, Thurs 17 Jan.

There is a wide range in forage quality on farms this year, and availability is a problem on some.  CAFRE advisers will be on hand to discuss appropriate supplementary concentrate feeding regimes to complement a range of forage types cost effectively as well as highlighting all-concentrate options. 

The mineral status of ewes also needs to be considered.  Research undertaken by AFBI has shown, for example, that a high proportion of ewes in Northern Ireland are inadequate in selenium.  The latest findings from work funded by DARD and AgriSearch will be presented showing the optimum supplementation strategies for selenium and a range of other minerals.  Effective mineral supplementation is crucial to ensure good lamb viability.

Staff from the AFBI Veterinary Sciences Division will discuss the control of liver fluke, stomach and intestinal worms.  AFBI has been monitoring parasite burdens on sheep farms across Northern Ireland and evaluating resistance to wormers.  This is important information on which to base effective parasite control.

Finally, simple recording schemes will be highlighted at the farm walks allowing producers to select for easier-care traits in their replacements.  By recording at lambing, ewe lamb replacements can be selected for prolificacy and ease of lambing traits.

These events are open to all sheep producers and will be signposted from the nearest village and adjacent main routes.

Clean clothes and footwear must be worn for biosecurity.  For further information contact Jason Rankin at AgriSearch on 028 8778 9770