Ivan Scott crowned Irish open shearing champion for ninth time
Donegal native and now nine-time All-Ireland Open shearing champion Ivan Scott has been crowned as the Irish open shearing champion for 2016.

The weather brought out the crowds at the All Ireland and All Nations Sheep Shearing and Woolhandling Championships in Castlepollard, Co Westmeath this weekend. The event takes place in Tullynally Castle on Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 June and is hosted by Townspark Vintage Club.

Ivan Scott, Donegal native and now nine-time All-Ireland Open shearing champion, was crowned the Irish open shearing champion for 2016.

Jack Robinson, from Co Derry, came second.

Left-hander Finn Butler, below, was named a senior winner in the shearing competition. Finn was very emotional after the victory and said he never thought he would win an All Ireland.

Helga Sinclair won overall winner of Queen of the Shears.

By the end of the championship, more than 200 competitors will have sheared 2,200 sheep across 19 different categories.

Sunday will see the competition take on an international flavour with a Six Nations Team competition featuring Ireland north and south, Scotland, England, Wales and France. We will have a full report from the international competition on the day on www.farmersjournal.ie.

See the full set of results from Saturday below

All Ireland Open

First - Ivan Scott 60.450,

Second - Jack Robinson 63.600,

Third - Robert Davidson 66.550

Fourth - Ian Mountgomery 66.600

Fifth - Tom Perry 69.1000

Sixth - Jimmy NcAuley 69.650

All Ireland Senior Heats

First - Finn Butler 47.450

Second - Stephen Morgan 48.450

Third - John Stephens 50.300

Fourth - Joseph Stephens 50.400

Fifth - Jason McNeice 52.050

Sixth - Johnny Paterson 52.750

All Ireland Intermediate Heats

First - Karol Devaney 53.715

Second - Joe Boylan 53.843

Third - Ronald Kennedy 57.571

Fourth - Pierce Bredin 60.007

Fifth - Russell Smyth 63.236

Sixth - Barry Devine 63.500

All Ireland Junior Heats

First - Robert Douglas 45.250

Second - Padraig Coen 52.150

Third - Joe Kerlin 53.750

Fourth - Liam Kelly 54.050

Fifth - Sean Corrigan 61.650

Sixth - Matthew P Murphy 67.350

Shearing New Zealand All Ireland Blade Heats

First - Peter Herarty 94.733

Second - Noel Joyce 100.700

Third - Patrick Moran 106.150

Fourth - Tom Halloran 122.650

Fifth - Padraig Kerrigan 125.883

Sixth - Martin Hopkins 131.317

Hotel Castlepollard Ladies

First - Helga Sinclair 23.000

Second - Jalle Resneau 24.650

Third - Emily Barker 32.800

Fourth - Joanne Devaney 62.400

All Ireland Wool Handling

First - George Graham 87.8

Second - Matt Murphy 187.4

International Wool Handling

First - Gwenan Paewai 60.800

Second - Brownen Tango 67.000

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Big guns in town for all-Ireland sheep shearing

Clean livestock policy sheep issues resume
Farmers have had more lambs rejected for slaughter this week with most issues said to be related to sheep being presented wet for slaughter.

The change in weather is giving rise to an increase in reports of sheep being rejected by Department vets under their clean livestock policy.

A workable solution and clear guidelines on dealing with wet lambs is required. IFA sheep chair Sean Dennehy said: “It is time Minister Creed put his foot down with the factories and bluntly told them there can be no charges on farmers as a result of the Department clean sheep policy.”

From small beginnings to trading 20,000 lambs
The South Mayo Quality Producer Group is celebrating 30 years in existence with many notable events shaping the progressive organisation. Darren Carty reports.

The Department of Agriculture introduced legislation in 2016 to give legal recognition to producer organisations in the beef sector. There are numerous producer organisations in the sheep sector that developing new groups could learn from or gain insights into the working of groups. One such group is the South Mayo Quality Producer Group.

The group are celebrating 30 years in existence and according to secretary Assumpta Mullin the central theme of delivering the best possible service to its members still remains at the forefront of the objectives. The initial formation of the producer group stemmed from poor market prices and difficulties in getting lambs accepted for slaughter.

If we think about the formation of a group now and the technologies available to communicate it is a far cry from the communication channels present in 1988. Assumpta says, however, that this was not a barrier with the group formed in spring of 1988 and comprising 50 to 60 members. Group members John and Anne Flannelly co-ordinated booking of lambs by phone prior to transporting to the factory. The inaugural deal completed was with the halal meat factory in Ballyhaunis which is now operated by Dawn Meats, which the group continues to trade with.

Assumpta says that from the outset there was an appetite to widen the service offered to members outside of trading lambs. A ram premium scheme was initiated to encourage members to improve breeding within their flocks by the purchase of rams with good breeding credentials and the establishment of an annual ram show, an initiative that remains in place today.

Another constant of the group was Knowledge Transfer with the group running discussion-group format meetings before the current-day format while close links with local Teagasc advisers supported information events and study trips.

Assumpta says the group honed in on quality through the 1990s and in 2000 took the decision to implement its own quality assurance scheme whereby every lamb traded through the group was tagged. The foot and mouth outbreak in 2001 superseded the tagging project with tagging rolled out on a national basis.

Taking control of their actions

Current group chair Pat Waldron says the success of the group can be attributed to the group taking control of their own actions. “The fact that it’s an organisation run by farmers for farmers and not Department or industry-led and that committee members are active sheep farmers and are well-positioned to understand the daily workings of sheep farming is a huge help.” Pat says that working alongside like-minded people also helps and this was the foundation for the group’s amalgamation with the Mayo Mule and Greyface Group and the Mayo Mountain Blackface Sheep Breeders Society under the umbrella name of The Lake District Sheep Producers. The three groups have a weekly office catering for just under 600 members.

A charity element has also been a major focal point and remains as such with the group hosting a 30th celebratory dinner dance in association with the Mayo-Roscommon Hospice in the McWilliam Park Hotel, Claremorris on Saturday 17 November at 8pm. Guest speaker is Dr Paddy Wall and tickets are available by contacting the office on 094 95 21820.

New Teagasc sheep specialist for the west
Damian Costello is appointed to the position of sheep knowledge transfer specialist.

Athenry-based Damian Costello is Teagasc's new sheep knowledge transfer specialist to cover the western region, the agency announced this Tuesday.

Costello will work with advisers and farmers in the main sheep-producing counties in the country.

He holds a BAgrSc in animal and crop production from UCD, which he followed up with a master's degree.

Since joining Teagasc as a REPS adviser in counties Clare and Galway in 1996, he went on to work as a drystock business and technology adviser.

Best practice

"The farmers in the Teagasc BETTER Farm sheep programme have been early adopters, and the benefits of incorporating best practices on-farm, are evident for all to see," Costello said.

"This, coupled with the research results emerging from the Teagasc national sheep research centre in Athenry, will provide the know-how to drive the sheep business forward in Ireland.”

Teagasc's head of drystock knowledge transfer Pearse Kelly said Costello would contribute knowledge of environmental issues and involvement in international research networks to the role.

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