There are a number of lamb-specific measures coming into play under the Sheep Improvement Scheme from 1 June onwards.

These include flystrike control, parasite control (faecal egg count) and the mineral supplementation of lambs pre-weaning.

The requirements, as per Department of Agriculture terms and conditions, are laid out below.

Parasite control (faecal egg count)

Participating lowland flocks are required to take and submit a minimum of two faecal egg counts between 1 June and 30 September for lambs.

The measure is aimed at establishing the worm burden in order to make an informed decision in relation to a dosing regime, which will ensure treatment of internal parasites is carried out on a targeted basis.

Participating hill flocks must carry out one faecal egg count on lambs for the presence of worms within four weeks post-weaning. This task is for lambs only and does not include ewes.

The terms and conditions advise that applicants should consult their agricultural adviser/veterinary surgeon when drawing up an appropriate worm control programme.

It is also important for applicants to note that only laboratories from the list of Department-approved laboratories for the purposes of the parasite control (faecal egg count) task of the Sheep Improvement Scheme are to be used.

Flystrike control

The flystrike control option is open to both lowland and hill flocks. Participants must adopt a flystrike programme for the prevention of flies during the summer months.

The terms and conditions state that participants must incorporate mechanical means for the prevention of flies in addition to any chemical control used.

The timing of intervention and the number of sheep with dags removed must be recorded. Dagging is viewed as critical to reduce the risk of flystrike occurring. Sheep must be flocked at least once during the period from 1 June to 30 September.

Mineral supplementation of lambs pre-weaning

This action is available for hill flocks. It requires applicants to administer mineral supplementation at least once during the grazing season to assist in addressing mineral deficiencies in lambs on hill flocks. Supplementation may take the form of injectables, boluses, drenches or liquid minerals.

Records of all mineral feeding stuffs purchased must be retained and made available for inspection.

All mineral feeding stuffs must be sourced from feed business operators approved or registered within the European Union. Minerals must be administered in accordance with the appropriate instructions.