Suspected sheep theft in Co Mayo
A farmer in Co Mayo is counting the cost after a dozen of his sheep have gone missing - suspected stolen.

Twelve Blackface Mayo mountain sheep are missing from Doontursk, Newport, Co Mayo, since before Christmas.

The ewes are all between two and four years old and have distinctive markings. They are marked with a blue dot on their sides, and some also have a red dot on their necks. The tips of each ear have also been notched and a half moon has been notched on the back of the right ear. Owner Francis Cussack says a reward will be offered for the return of or any information on the sheep. Cussack can be contacted on 087-910 0388.

Blade shearer Peter Heraty sets new nine-hour Irish record
The Mayo-man shore 326 ewes with a blade shears in just nine hours, a feat described as equivalent to running three marathons.

Peter Heraty, a shearer and farmer from Owenwee, Westport, set a new Irish nine-hour ewe blade shearing record on Friday 20 July. Peter recorded a majorly impressive shearing tally of 326 ewes, split over five intense periods.

Describing the scale of the achievement, Tom Dunne, chair of the Irish Sheep Shearers' Association, said: “This is a great day for Irish sheep shearers. Not only did Peter set a new Irish record, he will now become a household name in shearing circles across the world as news starts to spread. His ewe blade shearing record of 326 ewes is the greatest tally ever to be judged in the world.”

Tom said it is hard to put into words the huge physical exertion required to set such a record.

“What Peter did today is the equivalent of running three marathons. Other shearers were watching him closely and he was shearing a sheep with just 123 blows. That’s highly impressive speed and skill but when you multiply it up over 326 ewes, he has shorn over 40,000 blows today. It’s remarkable.”

High intensity performance

Starting at 6am, he shore 72 sheep in the first two-hour period. After an hour break, he maintained the same intensity in the next run, shearing 65 sheep in a shorter duration from 9am to 10.45am. This was followed by a half-hour break with the next time slot from 11.15am to 1pm witnessing 62 sheep being shorn.

There was a break from 1pm to 2pm for lunch before shearing 64 sheep from 2pm to 3.45pm. Peter never let the high intensity level drop and concluded the nine-hour shearing record by shearing 63 sheep in the final slot from 4.15pm to 6pm.

Highest ranked shearer

Tom says the latest accolade places Peter as the highest ranked blade shearer in the northern hemisphere. Peter is no stranger to setting records and alongside his Irish team-mate and fellow county man Noel Joyce, he represented Ireland in the Golden Shears World Sheep Shearing Championships, finishing fourth in the world blade shearing final and recording the highest finish for an Irish team in the championships. He has also been selected alongside Martin Hopkins to represent Ireland in the blade shearing world championships taking place next July in France.

Donegal-man claims top honours in young sheep farmer skills competition
Dwayne Shiels held off the challenges of a strong field to claim the top accolade at last week’s competition held at Sheep2018 Farm to Fork

The young sheep farmer skills competition held at Sheep 2018 Farm to Fork was a tense affair, with a strong field of 13 competitors from agricultural colleges locking horns. Donegal-man Dwayne Shiels from Letterkenny claimed the top accolade and prizemoney of €250 sponsored by Irish Country Meats.

Rachel Campbell from Co Meath finished second and claimed €150 in prizemoney. Rachel was representing Gurteen Agricultural College and also claimed the award for drafting sheep and €100 sponsored by sheep equipment manufacturer Stanley Engineering Services who are based in Errill, Co Laois. The third prize in the young farmer skills competition of €100 also headed to Donegal, going to James Mullin from Malin Head.

There were four winners of the sustainability challenge co-ordinated by Teagasc Kildalton and sponsored by the Irish Farmers Association. Each winner received a prize of €100, with winners as follows: Noel Burns, Kileshandra, Co Cavan; Gavin O’Sullivan, Beara, Co Cork; Sean Mannion, Tuam, Co Galway and Stephen O’Sullivan, Glengarriff, Co Cork.