The recipients of the 2020 LambPlus Award were Edmond and Paul O’Gorman, Lisfuncheon, Ballyporeen, Co. Tipperary.
They have a flock of 60 purebred Charollais ewes, and they put great effort into producing animals that are of high genetic merit while also having the physical attributes to perform well in a commercial setting.
Animals with high genetic merit produce more lambs and lambs that reach the desired carcass weight quicker from the same inputs meaning the production system is more efficient and environmentally-friendly.
Edmond and Paul’s use of the Euro-Star values to select replacement females and breeding rams has resulted in their 2019 lambs having an average euro-star value of €2.18 on the replacement index and €0.99 on the terminal index placing the Lisfuncheon flock in the top 10% of all LambPlus flocks.
The O’Gorman entered four rams into the Sheep Ireland LambPlus ram sale in August 2019 with two rams being in the top 1% and two being in the top 5% for euro-star values demonstrating the high genetic merit of the animals being produced at Lisfuncheon Charollais.
Focus on 5-star rams
Speaking on receiving the award Edmond and Paul stated: “We feel greatly honoured to have won the 2020 RDS LambPlus Award and appreciate the RDS recognising sustainable farming through its spring awards, considering its important historic role in the development of Irish agriculture.
“We try to improve our flock every year by using 5- star rams with a high genetic merit as identified by Sheep Ireland, and we are members of the Green, Low-Carbon, Agri-Environment Scheme (GLAS) which encourages good practice looking after the land. We also have 10 acres of forestry which benefits the environment.”
The RDS livestock awards are the only awards of their kind in Ireland that recognise the genetic merit of animals based on scientific indexes.
The awards are linked to the Irish Cattle Breeders Federation (ICBF) and Sheep Ireland databases.
Five livestock and three forestry award recipients were presented with their 2020 RDS Spring Awards on their farms and forests in recent weeks, as Covid-19 prevented the usual awards ceremony in the RDS Concert Hall.
The RDS Spring Agriculture and Forestry Awards have a total prize fund of €23,000, and they celebrate and promote the principles of climate-smart agriculture in Ireland.
They were originally scheduled to take place in April, but the Covid-19 restrictions prevent this and has led to an ongoing delay for the sustainability awards, which will be awarded at a later date.
Balance between economic and environmental needs
Michael Duffy, RDS Chief Executive commented: “It is more important than ever to recognise the work of our farmers and foresters who are contributing to the sustainable development of Irish agriculture, which remains the most important industry in rural Ireland.”
“This year’s spring award winners have achieved a balance between the economic and environmental needs of the sector and are highlighting what is possible when experience is combined with innovation.”
Many of this year’s winners, he added, can trace the history of their family farm back to the first half of the 19th century.
This longevity is fantastic, but it is important to recognise that this is only achieved through continuous innovation and adapting to the changing needs of the sector.” Duffy concluded.