Edward Earle, Gorey, Co. Wexford, works as a quality engineer and farms over 300 ewes in partnership with his parents.
Renowned for being the ‘sunny south-east’ here in Wexford, it’s been far from that over the last couple weeks.
Ground conditions here are extremely saturated after the rain making it more challenging for maintaining lamb performance with grass utilisation reduced.
96mm of rain fell during the week, of which 46 mm fell in 4 hours on Thursday.
All this rain has significantly impacted on our grazing rotation management. The soil type on the farm here is heavy and known as Macamore soil-type.
We have had to move the lambs more regularly over the past week onto fresh grass due to the ground conditions. We are doing this in an attempt to maintain lamb performance, despite the current conditions.
It won’t matter how much grass cover is on the paddock, it will become soiled and this will reduce intake by the lambs.
It’s only 6 weeks until we let rams out with ewes, so it is important to ensure rams are kept in good condition as anything that impacts the ram’s condition could impact on the ram’s performance at mating.
As it takes 6 to 8 weeks for ram’s sperm production, we don’t want anything impacting the ram now.
Something such as pneumonia, which will increase the body temperature, will almost certainly leave the ram infertile. This weather has us on much more on watch with the rams.
All the mature ewes were given their monthly Cobalt B12 dose and ran through a foot-bath. With the ewes in for dosing, we took the opportunity to assess their body condition score and we are satisfied with their assessments.
Update on ewe lambs
As I said in my last update, we were discussing whether we would lamb the ewe lambs this year, so after several discussions, we have decided not to lamb the ewe lambs.
We have been lambing around 60 ewe lambs each year for a good number of years and this will be a change not lambing ewe lambs.
Yes, this will mean we will not have these extra lambs to sell next year, but we won’t have the extra cost of getting ewe lambs up to the right weight for lambing and maintaining their condition with concentrates.