Flocks possessing sheep rated five stars on the Sheep Ireland €uro-Star genetic indices have the potential to deliver an additional €18 net profit per ewe compared with flocks with one-star animals.
The findings are part of a recent study undertaken by Teagasc and are one of the many topics of discussion at its national sheep open day taking place in Mellows Campus, Athenry, on Saturday 18 June from 10am to 4pm.
The study was undertaken using production data collected on 7,644 commercially recorded animals and investigated the value of selecting five-star animals on either the terminal or replacement index over selecting one-star animals.
Higher litter size
The findings showed that selecting five-star animals resulted in a higher average litter size, lower lamb mortality and higher-performing lambs that reach slaughter weight quicker.
The five-star flock sold more lambs per ewe and at an earlier age, with the combined benefits equating to these ewes delivering €18 net profit more per head.
On a 100-ewe flock, this translates to an additional €1,800 net profit on the farm’s bottom line.
Lower GHG emissions
Furthermore, the findings show the five-star flock also produced 7% lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions per unit of output (kilo of carcase weight) compared with the one-star flock.
The benefits of this are significant in light of the high targets set to reduce GHG emissions by 30% by 2030.
Teagasc concludes that the results clearly show the benefit of consistently selecting high-star-rated rams, with many additional benefits now also being realised in terms of animal health.