New sheep housing facilities on agenda for Greenmount Association

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The Greenmount Association will hold their annual Spring Farm Walk on Friday, April 20, at Greenmount Hill Farm, 62c Glenhead Road, Glenwherry, Ballymena, starting at 12.30pm.

Greenmount Hill Farm is situated just off the main Ballymena to Larne road and will be signposted on the day.

The Hill Farm extends to around 1,000 ha and carries 110 suckler cows and 1,100 ewes. A new state-of-the-art sheep house was built in 2016. The house is a portal frame structure measuring 72m by 26m with a fibre cement roof, slurry tanks and a central 5m wide feed passage accessible from both ends. It can accommodate 750 ewes pre lambing and has holding and handling facilities for the entire flock.

The flooring system is non-slip plastic slats for improved comfort and foot stability. The ewes are diet fed and all gates have adjustable feed barriers to accommodate different sizes of stock, facilitate restricted feeding and allow the pens to double up as holding pens. There are 56 permanent lambing pens with water supply fed through a 150mm plastic pipe regulated by a ball float valve at one end. The shed layout allows a further 28 temporary pens to be set up in the handling area during lambing. All lambing pens are straw bedded.

The handling facilities incorporate a long narrow collecting pen, a circular forcing pen and a handling race which includes an individual animal handling unit. The latest EID technology and software is used to capture information and aid management including automated drafting, electronic weighing equipment and precision drenching.

The building is naturally ventilated using Yorkshire cladding on the side walls and a protected open ridge running the length of the building. Lighting is provided through low energy LED lights while other features include high-resolution cameras and a rain water harvesting system.

This recent investment provides students and farmers with access to a range of technologies which improve sheep health and welfare, technical efficiency, labour efficiency and stock performance.

College staff will be available to conduct a tour of the sheep house and handling facilities and provide an update on the highly successful Glenwherry Hill Regeneration Partnership (GHRP) Project.

Tea/Coffee and shortbread will be available on arrival and BBQ Glenarm Shorthorn burgers will also be provided. Car parking will be at the Hill Farm Office area.

There is a charge of £10/person to cover catering.

If you would like to attend please contact CAFRE Education Admin at 028 9442 6700 stating your name, address and contact number. Booking is essential. To help finalise numbers for catering please book early.