TWO leading hill sheep units feature in the series of four AgriSearch farms walks for Ulster lamb producers next week from Jan 21-24.
All these ‘Sheep Saunters with Scientists’ leave the farmyard at 2pm prompt so producers must plan to be parked up by 1.45pm to allow time for vital biosecurity measures.
The hills farms are those of Samuel Wharry above Carnlough and Joe Maginn in the Mountains of Mourne near Newcastle.
Each of the four host farmers is deeply involved in on-farm research with AFBI, Hillsborough that is funded jointly by the UK government through DARD and by NI farmers through AgriSearch. Research selected for support from the industry as being likely to boost competitiveness and build a better rural economy.
As ever a highlight of these AgriSearch farm walks organised in association with AFBI researchers and CAFRE advisors will be the discussion time. The main topics being how crossbred ewes can increase efficiency, winter feeding plans and the health of the ewe in late pregnancy. As ever the problem of how to diagnose and treat lameness is sure to engender a lively debate.
Certain to be a major attraction will be the comments of AFBI Vets such as Dr Jason Barley on how to tackle fluke and worm burdens. .
Samuel Wharry, a leading NBA member, has a hill farm above Carnlough running to 200 ha, including 130 ha of moorland. Sam is noted for having an excellent, labour efficient housing system, handling facilities and lambing areas for 420 Blackface breeding ewes and 200 crossbred ewes.
His priorities are to increase lambing percentage, whilst maintaining lamb quality, by selecting replacements from his most prolific ewes. For winter feeding Sam mostly relies on straw and concentrates.
Joe and Seamus Maginn in the Mournes have a flock of 1,200 Blackface ewes, including homebred ewe lambs, and 200 crossbred ewes. Their sheep graze common upland grounds on the Mournes, as well as 40 ha of in-bye land and 30 ha of lowland pasture. Most ewes are lambed outdoors and winter feeding is based around feed blocks on the hill as well as grass silage and concentrates.
All farm walks start at 2pm sharp.Sign posted from nearby settlements and main roads these events are open to all seeking to make a living from sheep. But do remember to take biosecurity precautions by wearing clean clothes and washable boots.
Tuesday, 21January 2014
Isaac Crilly, 7 Fort Road, Lislaird, Castlederg, BT81 7UL
Wednesdau, 22 January 2014
Samuel Wharry, Harphall, 42 Whitehill Road, Carnlough, BT44 0HG
Thurday, 23 January 2014
John Martin, Gordonall, 93 Newtownards Road, Greyabbey, BT22 2QJ
Friday, 24 January 2014
Joe Maginn, 97 Ballagh Road, Newcastle, BT33 0LA