"Lamb Finishing” Events in Swatragh and Hilltown Marts

Date published: 28 August 2019

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“Lamb Finishing” will be the theme of two events targeted at sheep farmers, that are being organised by AFBI, CAFRE, AgriSearch and the LMC.

The events will be held on Tuesday 3 September 2019 in Swatragh Livestock Market and on Wednesday 4 September 2019 in Hilltown Livestock Market. Both events start at 7pm and will last approximately two hours. These events form part of a series on “Future Proofing Beef & Sheep Farming” being held during 2019 to communicate the latest findings of beef and sheep research.


Colin Smith, Livestock and Meat Commission will give an introduction to domestic and international markets for lamb and discuss consumer demands and how farmers can maximise returns by meeting market specification. 

Following this Dr Aurelie Aubry, AFBI will discuss the findings of the recent research on the nutritional requirements of finishing lambs. This research has found that the maintenance energy requirements for lambs are much higher than those previously recommended.   

Dr Eileen McCloskey, CAFRE will then speak on the practicalities of feeding finishing lambs. This will include examining a range of options / systems for finishing lambs.

Dr Elizabeth Earle, AgriSearch and Tara Meeke (AFBI/QUB PhD Student) will discuss grazing systems to maximise performance of lambs.  This talk will cover key performance targets for sheep grazing systems, findings from the GrassCheck programme and outline preliminary findings of a study carried out at AFBI Hillsborough evaluating the performance of 4- and 8-paddock rotational grazing systems.

Dr Aurélie Aubry will also discuss the importance of genetics for sheep production.  This will include an update on the Northern Ireland RamCompare flock which is testing rams with a range of muscle indexes from terminal sire breeds recorded on the Signet and Sheep Ireland systems. This links into a larger UK RamCompare study which is developing new and improved EBVs including an EBV for saleable meat yield.

Finally, Dr David Farrell from AFBI Food Science Branch will discuss factors affecting lamb carcass quality.  He will examine the strengths and weaknesses of the current EUROP grading system and outline the potential for new grading systems such as CT and DEXA scans and hyperspectral imaging.

All farmers / landowners are welcome to attend. Further information in relation to the events can be found on the AgriSearch website.  Please note that photographs and videos will be taken at this event for promotional and knowledge exchange purposes to include press releases, social media and websites.


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