Teagasc has announced proceedings for its upcoming lowland sheep conferences, which take place on Tuesday 24 January in Co Monaghan and Thursday 26 January in Co Wexford.

The line-up of speakers is the same for the two events and topics covered include a strong environmental theme and also touch on challenges facing the sheep sector.

The latter point is very much apt for the first presentation listed; parasites of sheep and resistance to drenches - a New Zealand perspective.

This topic is being covered by Dr Dave Leathwick, Agresearch, New Zealand. Anthelmintic resistance is becoming a rapidly growing issue on Irish farms and has the potential to severely affect animal performance.

It has been in the spotlight for much longer in New Zealand and, as such, there is more experience and learnings around possible strategies that can be adopted to best cope with the challenges presented.

Organic farming

The second topic listed concerns organic sheep farming and will discuss factors to consider and the production of lamb on an organic farm.

This presentation will deliver advisory and farm views and be delivered jointly by Teagasc organic specialist Elaine Leavy and organic sheep farmer Amy Jackson from Tullamore, Co Offaly.

There has been substantial growth in the number of farmers converting to organic farming, with over 4,000 farmers set to be farming organically or in conversion in 2023.

The Department has big targets to double this figure over the coming years and sheep and beef farmers have driven the increase in numbers participating.

Greenhouse gas emissions

There is an increasing spotlight being cast on agricultural emissions, with major targets set to reduce emissions over the next 20 years.

Much of the talk at present relates to dairying and suckler beef production, but sheep farming will not be given a free pass.

Dr Jonathan Herron of Teagasc Moorepark will discuss the greenhouse gas intensity of average sheep systems in Ireland.

A significant factor in reducing emissions is reducing chemical nitrogen usage.

Extensive research has been undertaken in Teagasc Mellows Campus, Athenry, in recent years on the effect of the addition of clovers or herbs to a perennial ryegrass sward on animal and sward performance.

An overview of this research and the potential for sheep systems will be discussed by Teagasc Walsh scholar Lisa McGrane.


The first event will take place on 24 January in the Hillgrove Hotel, Old Armagh Rd, Latlorcan, Co Monaghan, H18 RK15.

The second event will take place on 26 January in the Brandon House Hotel, Southknock, Chambersland, New Ross, Co Wexford, Y34 KR62.

Both conferences start at 7pm. Conferences will not be streamed live, but will be recorded and made available to view online after the event.

The date and venue has also been set for the Teagasc National Hill Sheep Conference and this will take place on Wednesday 15 February at 7pm in the Westlodge Hotel, Bantry, Co Cork, P75 N978.

Details on the conference proceedings have not been announced yet.