Eid al-Adha festival

There have been some queries from farmers looking at timelines for marketing lambs with consideration to the Islamic religious festival of Eid al-Adha. The festival will begin on 9/10 July and run until 13 July.

Demand for ewes and lambs has underpinned the highest weekly kill in recent years, with throughput in the week leading up to the event peaking at almost 78,000 head in 2021. The week of the festival also recorded a kill of just over 64,000 head.

The festival gives rise to increased demand for all categories of sheep, but factories have generally concentrated on maximising throughput of lambs in the week prior to Eid al-Adha.

There is also likely to be some demand for ram lambs for live export and also for processing in factories.

The prospects for exporting lambs live is usually governed by prevailing lamb prices and the prospects of live export markets returning a margin when handling and transport costs are taken into account.

Fodder budget

It is important to carry out a fodder budget early to ensure that you can take remedial action and close more ground if required. Housed ewes will consume in the region of 5kg silage freshweight daily or 1kg dry matter.

As a rule of thumb one tonne of pit silage at 25% dry matter will suffice to feed 10 ewes for 25 days or 10 ewes will require 1.2t of such silage on average per month.

To calculate the tonnage of grass silage in a pit, multiply the length by breadth and height and divide by 45. A 4x4 round bale of silage weighing 650kg at 30% dry matter will feed 10 ewes for 20 days.

Wellbeing of dogs

While temperatures are not excessive it is important to note that dehydration can quickly occur in dogs working in relatively high temperatures. As such, it is important to carry a supply of fresh water and allow dogs to take regular rest.

Another important aspect to be mindful of is not leaving animals inside vehicles, as temperatures can quickly rise.

With regard to worming dogs, veterinary advice recommends worming pups every two weeks until they are 12 weeks of age and then every month until they reach six months of age.

The advice for adult dogs is worming every three months throughout adulthood. Take note also that this must be recorded in the Bord Bia Sustainable Beef and Lamb and Dairy Assurance schemes manual.

Worm counts

Reports from advisers and veterinary specialists report some high worm counts being identified at present in faecal egg counts. It is important to be aware of this and to carry out some faecal egg sampling where this is not already in place.

For those participating in the Sheep Welfare Scheme who selected the parasite control option, remember lowland flocks must carry out a minimum of two faecal egg counts during the period 1 June to 30 September to establish the worm burden and ascertain the need for treatment.

For hill flocks, the measure requires carrying out one faecal egg count on lambs post weaning for the presence of worms and treating accordingly.