Head Shepherd

An insight into Irish Sheep Farming with Tim Keady

March 13, 2023 Season 2023 Episode 123
Head Shepherd
An insight into Irish Sheep Farming with Tim Keady
Show Notes

It is always interesting to compare different farming systems across this world. This week on the podcast we have Dr Tim Keady speaking about farming in Ireland. Having recently returned from a trip to New Zealand, Tim has a great insight at how the different systems compare.

"We went to see the use of different technologies on-farm, with the intention of reducing labour and improving efficiency. So, we decided to go to New Zealand" says Tim. "... to look at the systems of sheep reproduction... but also to look at the types and levels of technologies that are used on farm, particularly to improve labour efficiency."

Dr Tim Keady is principal sheep research scientist in the Animal and Grassland Research and Innovation Centre, Teagasc Athenry and has a wealth of knowlege on the Irish sheep industry. 

Mark and Tim compare the different genetics, grassland management, hogget breeding and markets which are surprisingly similar in many ways. 

Firstly, in the last number of years in pedigree breeding genotyping is becoming more and more important in Ireland. Tim says "It's looking like there's a new scheme thats been launched this year that one of the requirements is that you have to buy a genotyped ram." A concept that has yet to reach our shores. 

Tim runs Mark through the Irish sheep meat markets. Much like New Zealand, Ireland exports most of it's lamb, with 70% going overseas, making it the largest net sheep meat exporter in Europe. With 2.5 million ewes, that's no mean feat. 

 Mark and Tim discuss the breed profile of these sheep to fit both the Irish seasons but also the export market requirements.

Thank you Tim for sharing your time with us. 

Head Shepherd is brought to you by neXtgen Agri International Limited, we help livestock farmers get the most out of the genetics they farm with. Get in touch with us if you would like to hear more about how we can help you do what you do best - info@nextgenagri.com.

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