Looking forward to the challenges coming down the line is part and parcel of farming with lambing a major date in the diary for sheep farmers. The coming lambing season is for many possibly occurring against a backdrop of greater concerns.

Scanners, advisers and farmers report ewes on average being in poorer body condition as a consequence of challenging weather and the knock on consequences dating back to last spring of record input costs.

The quality of forage is also lower on many farms due to delayed harvesting in 2023.

Feeding management will be vital to get right and early intervention has never been as important to safeguard ewe condition and have ewes lambing down in the best possible shape. As such, this year’s focus on lambing has a strong theme around late pregnancy feeding. We also look at what feed ingredients represent good value for money and also includes nutrition tips delivered by Tim Keady at the recent Teagasc conferences.

There are in excess of 2,000 sheep farmers now farming organically with a significant cohort of these farmers heading into their first lambing season as an organic farmer. There are important considerations in sourcing good-quality feed and records required to stay on the right side of rules and regulations.

Straw supplies are also tighter in general following lower volumes saved in 2023. Straw is critical in keeping ewes clean pre-lambing, providing a suitable environment for newborn lambs and minimising the risk of disease? It is advisable to review your calculations on volumes required, while having the necessary infrastructure in place can greatly cut down on labour input.