From Monday, September 21st until Friday, September 25th, the latest developments will be showcased in the areas of grassland, genetic improvement, flock health, hill sheep as well as information on environmental and policy issues.
In addition, the state agency will be posting videos and updates throughout the Virtual Sheep Week.
Follow the week’s activities by staying tuned to the Teagasc social media channels, or by searching #VirtualSheepWeek for all information posted.
On Monday, September 21st, learn how good grassland management can supply high-quality digestible pastures to the grazing ewe and her lambs.
The live panel discussion that evening led by Damian Costello, sheep specialist with Teagasc will focus on the current grassland research for sheep and grazing management strategies that can be applied at farm-level and will feature panellists Philip Creighton and Micheál O’Leary of Teagasc along with special guest John O’Connell, Teagasc Sheep BETTER Farmer from County Leitrim.
Breeding and genetics
Find out how improving genetics can improve the performance of the animals in your flock. The live panel discussion on Tuesday, led by Michael Gottstein, Head of Sheep Knowledge Transfer with Teagasc, will focus on the importance of using high genetic merit animals in your flock, incorporating results from phase one of the Irish / New Zealand Animal Comparison (INZAC) study; the importance of commercial on-farm recording in making breeding decisions and the potential of using genetics to reduce labour at lambing and breed animals with a reduced carbon ‘hoof’ print will be covered.
The panel discussion will feature Fiona McGovern and Aine O’Brien, Teagasc, along with special guest, Eamonn Wall of Sheep Ireland.
Hill sheep and store lambs on Wednesday
Hill sheep farming is carried out on a diverse range of land quality and farming systems and plays a vital role in Irish agriculture and also in the maintenance of delicate landscapes.
On Wednesday, September 23rd, view the recent and current Teagasc research on developing systems for finishing hill bred store lambs, and the results from the Teagasc BETTER Hill Sheep Farms.
The live panel discussion on Wednesday evening, led by Michael Diskin, Teagasc Sheep Enterprise Leader will feature panellists, Frank Campion and John Cannon of Teagasc, along with guest speakers Brendan Joyce, hill sheep farmer and chairperson of Atlantic Hill Lamb Producer Group and Patrick Dunne, BETTER Farm Sheep Farmer.
Keep your flock healthy
Having a flock with a high-health status is a critical cornerstone to improving flock productivity and profitability.
On Thursday, September 24th, tune in to learn the key factors impacting flock health status.
The live panel discussion will be led by Michael Gottstein, Head of Sheep Knowledge Transfer with Teagasc and will feature panellists, Orla Keane and Tim Keady of Teagasc, along with Maresa Sheehan from the Veterinary Laboratory in the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.
Topics such as internal parasite control, mineral nutrition, lamb survivability and correct quarantine and biosecurity protocols will all be discussed.
Policy and environment
On the last day of the Teagasc Virtual Sheep Week, the likely policy changes and the important role that sheep farming plays in marinating the natural environment will be discussed.
Guest speaker on that evening, Senator Pippa Hackett, Minister of State for Land Use and Biodiversity, will join to discuss the challenges faced by farmers on the hills and uplands.
Other panellists include Kevin Hanrahan, Head of Rural Economy with Teagasc; Michael Gottstein, Head of Sheep Knowledge Transfer in Teagasc and Jack Nolan from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.
The discussion facilitated by Teagasc Director, Professor Gerry Boyle will focus on National and EU Policy and Environment affecting sheep production.