The marketing of hill sheep will be under the spotlight at next week’s Teagasc hill sheep conference.
The KT-approved sheep event, which takes place in the Glendalough Hotel, Co Wicklow, on Tuesday 19 February starting at 6pm, includes a panel section focusing on how the hill sheep sector can be better linked with the market.
Important role for marts
Manager of Kenmare Mart Dan McCarthy will give an overview of the importance of the hill sheep sector in Kerry and outline the important role marts can play in providing an outlet for hill lambs.
There are also opportunities to continue to develop strong links between hill and lowland farmers
There are challenges facing the mart’s customer base, with an ageing profile of farmers and stricter regulations two issues raised, but there are also opportunities to continue to develop strong links between hill and lowland farmers.
Good environmental practice
Connemara-based farmer Brendan Joyce runs a hill farm near Maam Cross with his family.
He says one of the greatest challenges to farmers is alignment of policy between what the National Parks & Wildlife Service sees as good environmental practice and what the Department of Agriculture sees as good agricultural practice.
Brendan says that with buy-in from stakeholders, these challenges can be turned into opportunities to ensure a positive future for hill farming.
Atlantic Hill Brand
The introduction of the Atlantic Hill Lamb brand following a link-up between the INHFA and Kepak, along with support from Bord Bia, is an area where Brendan sees scope to build on the 16,000 lambs marketed to date.
James Smyth of Irish Country Meats sees an important role for hill lamb in helping to address the seasonal nature of lamb production in Ireland.
James will develop this topic and outline how hill lambs can be an integral part of Irish sheepmeat output.