The programme of events for this year’s Teagasc hill sheep conference has been announced and includes a wide range of topics including farm production and financial performance, breeding, health and feeding of ewes in late pregnancy.

The event will take place over two nights with both event’s proceedings taking place from 8pm to 9pm.

The first topic on Wednesday 17 February entails the experience of Donegal hill sheep farmer David McLaughlin, who has been a participant of the Teagasc BETTER Farm Hill Sheep Programme since 2008.

Along with his Teagasc business and technology adviser John Cannon, David will give his experience of how the farm has made impressive gains in both the farm’s physical and financial performance.

Barrier to improvement

A barrier to improving breeding in hill sheep flocks is a poor uptake of performance recording and participation in breed improvement programmes.

Sheep Ireland’s Kevin McDermott will discuss the huge potential that exists to drive progress in this area.

He will present information on some new initiatives and technologies, which he feels can have a big effect in encouraging more farmers to participate in parentage recording and genotyping in pedigree hill flocks.

Thursday’s proceedings

The focus for Thursday evening’s event turns to health and feeding.

The health topic of ticks and tickborne diseases in Ireland is sure to attract strong interest from farmers, given it has been a growing problem in recent years.

Annette Zintl of University College Dublin (UCD) currently teaches veterinary immunology and parasitology to veterinary medicine and veterinary nursing students as a lecturer at the UCD School of Veterinary Sciences.

Her research interests focus on the epidemiology, detection, transmission and control of various parasites, with the chief aim of investigating their importance for animal and/or human health in Ireland.

Her long-term research interests are common and emerging parasites of livestock and ticks and tick-borne diseases.

Following this, independent beef and sheep consultant Liz Genever, from the UK, will discuss the importance on ewe body condition in late pregnancy.

Liz has a strong technical background and works with farmers who want to challenge their current practices, particularly on grass and forage utilisation.

She is one of the founders of Carbon Calling, which has the aim of building a community of farmers who support and learn from one another to improve their own wellbeing and farm performance.

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Donegal farm excelling through farm planning and performance monitoring