Preparing for lambing and ensuring it goes well is the focus of the Dumfries Monitor Farm winter meeting.
All sheep producers are invited to the afternoon meeting ‘Are EWE ready for lambing?’ which will look at pre-lambing preparation and best practice at lambing for a successful season.
Graham Lofthouse, who runs the Bankhouse Flock near Galashiels, will talk about ‘Best practice at lambing for a successful outcome’. His session will cover nutrition, target body condition scores, what data to capture that makes a difference, health, hygiene and post-lambing management, as well as talking about where your time is best spent.
Graham has moved his system over the past 13 years from a high-input flock of Texel ewes to a flock of lightweight Easycare composite ewes, which are lambed outdoors in April. The farm has achieved performances which now include an average scanning percentage of 171%, barren rates below 3%, and a rearing percentage of 157%. Over a number of years, the farm has averaged lamb losses from lambing to sale of 8% or less; the industry average for Scotland is 15%.
Following on, vet Ali Haggerty from Stewartry Veterinary Centre will discuss lambing losses and a new project on the topic which will be undertaken through the Monitor Farm programme at Barnbackle.
Monitor Farmer Richard McCornick and his family run the 500-acre beef and sheep unit at Barnbackle, which includes 700 Texel x Mule ewes. The farm’s Integrated Land Management Plan (ILMP), produced by SAC as part of the Monitor Farm programme, highlighted lambing losses as an area for focus. Ali will be explaining what the project will involve and the impact it aims to have.
Barnbackle is one of nine Monitor Farms across Scotland taking part in the programme run by Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) and AHDB, and funded by Scottish Government. This aims to help to farms reach full economic, social, and environmental sustainability by optimising production. Over the next four years, other farmers and experts will be brought together to help the family assess farm performance, explore opportunities, and develop solutions to their challenges.
Monitor Farm south cluster adviser Maura Wilson said: “The aims of this afternoon are to help producers prepare for a successful lambing, and to talk about some of the key areas which can help boost flock and farm performance. It will be great to hear from two very practical speakers about what can be done to make lambing season a success.”
The meeting is on Thursday 7 December at 2pm at Wallets Marts, Castle Douglas, and booking is essential. Book via this link: https://areEWEreadyforlambing.eventbrite.co.uk