Making the most of grass will be the key topic of discussion at the AgriSearch-AFBI-CAFRE ‘Flock health and grassland walks’ at the farms of Isaac and Elizabeth Crilly, Castlederg, and John Martin, Greyabbey on the 10th and 11th September respectively.
Both farms currently participate in AgriSearch’s ‘Lamb from Grass’ / GrassCheck project which involves the evaluation of 4 and 8 paddock rotational grazing systems on-farm along with the weekly monitoring of grass growth and quality. The weekly monitoring data aids both farms in making more effective grazing decisions and achieving optimum animal performance from grass throughout the season.
Isaac and Elizabeth Crilly
Isaac and Elizabeth operate a 400 Belclare / New Zealand Suffolk cross-bred ewe flock on 26.4 hectares. The farm focuses strongly on breeding the correct maternal ewe for their mid-season lambing flock and on maximising lamb performance from grass. Breeding policies include the introduction of New Zealand Suffolk genetics, which Isaac finds delivers lambs with good vigour at birth and high growth rates. Ewe lambs are sold off farm as breeding replacements, with remaining lambs finished to market specification.
Event details: 7 Fort Road, Lislaird, Castlederg, BT81 7UL, on Monday the 10th September, walk will begin at 6:30 pm sharp (Registration from 6:00 pm)
John runs a flock of 680 Belclare and Highlander cross ewes on 72 hectares. John lambs an early batch in Mid-January of 150 ewes and a mid-season batch of 315 ewes and 150 ewe lambs in Mid-March. The farm in recent years has dramatically improved the lamb output through the use of new genetics and rotational grazing. John says “This has allowed me to reduce the use of creep feeding to lambs and achieve better performance from grass.”
Event details: Gordonall Farms, 93 Newtownards Road, Greyabbey, BT22 2QJ, on Tuesday the 11th September, walk will begin at 5:00 pm (Registration from 4:30 pm).
At the walks, there will be the opportunity to hear about the following:
- Grazing management and flock performance to-date on the farms
- The GrassCheck project
- How to best future-proof worm control on your farm by Lesley Stubbings
- Guidance on assessing ewe body condition at tupping time
- The development of a flock health plan for your farm
- Pre-tupping ram MOT checks
- Winter feeding options and forage budgeting
In the interests of biosecurity those attending are asked to wear clean clothing not previously worn while in direct contact with their own animals. Outdoor work boots should not be worn. Protective overalls and footwear will be provided.