Blowfly protection

Farmers and shearers have reported some cases of blowfly strike in the last week. The cases have typically been in unshorn sheep with dirty tail-ends or soiled fleeces. The drop in temperatures in the second half of this week will slow the incidence of strike, but with temperatures forecast to rise again, it is worth being mindful of potential issues and to consider an appropriate preventative treatment programme. The table detailing products available and associated information can be found linked to this article at Dagging dirty tail-ends will buy some time where sheep are waiting to be shorn, with a backlog present due to challenging weather. It is also thought to reduce the risk of ewes becoming cast on their back. Placing some implements such as a trailer, transport box, etc, in a field where ewes can scratch will also help, but ultimately where there are issues with ewes going on their back, then shearing is the only real solution. It is worth considering housing any repeat offenders or bringing them to a paddock where they can be supervised more regularly.

Shearing documentation

Several farmers I spoke to at last weekend’s sheep-shearing championships raised queries regarding shearing documentation needed for the National Sheep Welfare Scheme. The Department has previously stated to the Irish Farmers Journal that in the main where a farmer shears for themselves and thus has no shearing contractor involved, the receipt for the sale of wool will suffice. Where a shearing contractor carries out the shearing, then documentary evidence of this action from the contractor and/or evidence of payment via cheque, for example, and evidence of wool sale to a merchant should be presented, where sought. A question was also previously asked to the Department regarding a person carrying out shearing who is not a registered contractor, but who is paid for their services. The Department advised in such specific cases that evidence of the payment will be required to be submitted, if requested. Another scenario of a farmer composting wool was also queried, and in such circumstances the advice given is that evidence that ewes have been shorn through verification by an inspector on the ground or timestamped photos of the shorn ewes submitted will suffice.

Payment check

Balancing payments (15% remaining) under the Sheep Improvement Scheme began issuing on Wednesday to all eligible farmers. Farmers can check the level of payment received through their account under the financial self-services tab. It may take a couple of days for payments to process, depending on who you do your banking with. It is also possible for farmers who may have forgotten what actions they chose, including the year to purchase a genotyped ram, or their reference number, to check this via the heading ‘ag schemes – Sheep Improvement Scheme’. When you click on this heading, a message will pop up telling you that applications are now closed. Just click on the ‘close’ tab and this will bring you through to the application list. Clicking on the three dots to the right of the application information will present a tab allowing you to view your application or any correspondence received. The first window will present details of the reference number, while the second will present data on actions chosen including the year selected to purchase a genotyped ram.