The NI Region ARMM was held recently at AFBI, Large Park, Hillsborough and followed by an open meeting on general sheep topics.
A cheque was presented to Liz Hamilton from Chest, Heart and Stroke in lieu of a fee from Justin McCarthy and Phelim O’Neill from the Irish Farmers Journal who spoke at seminars at the NSA SheepNI Event in July.
In his report outgoing Chairman Campbell Tweed gave a review of the past year and expressed concern about the unknown in relation to the Brexit negotiations.
At the election of office bearers conducted by guest speaker Andrew Robinson Brian Jamison from Ballycastle was elected as new chairman and Jonny Farmer, an ex Young Ambassador, from Portglenone was elected as vice chairman. All other posts remained the same other than the NI representative on the UK Finance and General Purpose Committee where Brian Jamison replaced Crosby Cleland who had served two three year terms.
New members to committee are Elizabeth Earle from Dromore, Co Down and Alistair Armstrong from Tempo, Co Fermanagh.
After the ARMM Dr John Robinson from Scotland spoke on ewe nutrition and its effect on lamb output and performance.
Optimum feeding of the ewe is a balance of high quality feedstuffs to supply energy and protein with ME (metabolizable energy) and DUP (digestible undegraded protein) the guide to a good feed ration but overfeeding is as harmful as under feeding.
His son Andrew gave advice and examples of his experience in veterinary practice on mineral imbalances and the health of the ewe.
Fluke is also an issue when we have had an autumn like the one just experienced with correct monitoring and dosing essential.
One of the most important times to dose for fluke after a bad year is in May to help clean out the adult sheep to avoid heavy contaminations throughout the next summer.
The final speaker of the evening was Dr Aurelie Aubry from AFBI who gave an update of the sheep trials in progress at AFBI.
She outlined a number of trials that have been going on at AFBI and explained the way forward was to look at several things that would affect profit:
q Continue to explore alternative breeding strategies
q Recording existing traits
q Recording KPIs such as kg lamb/kg ewe and kg lamb/ha
q Number and causes of lamb losses
q Using and testing EBVs
q Collecting novel phenotypic data on feed conversion efficiency
A question and answer session followed the speaker presentations and that lasted well over the allocated time. N
New chairman Brian Jamieson concluded the meeting by thanking the speakers and all who had attended.