August Newsletter 2023

Posted: 4 September 2023

Alan and Simon O’Connor run a flock of 500 ewes in Co Wicklow and work with Mules. This is their first year using an Agrident APR450 reader with Select Sheepware , the software system provided by TGM.

Lamb births were recorded on the reader, linked to their mothers, with birth issues being recorded.  Lambs were weighed twice using the reader, once around 56 days old and once around three months. This is the time of year when replacements need to be selected. George from TGM spent a little time with Alan, helping him sort out the selection pool of replacement females. First the top 30% of ewes, based on 90 day lamb weights were selected. Select Sheepware lets the user choose the percentage.  This gave an initial group of around 100 ewes, with the highest 90 day lamb weights. An alert was set on these ewes.
A further filter was applied – filtering all female lambs born from these 100 ewes ie the female lambs born to the highest performing ewes.  An alert was set on these lambs ‘REP’ (for potential replacement).  The lamb weight report was sorted according to daily weight gain since birth, filtering out only lambs which were born as one of twins.  Another 10 lambs or so were added to the REP lamb group.  Finally, the lambs in the REP group were sorted by their own weight gain per day since birth and a few of the poorer performers removed. This left Alan with a selection pool of around 100 lambs from which he chooses 50.  This left him with 100 lambs from the best performing ewes, which were all one of twins or one of triplets and had excellent daily live weight gains since birth.

A click of the mouse on the button ‘Send Data To device’ transferred all the sheep, with their alerts into the reader. Alan then ran the lambs through the race, scanning each one with the reader. The reader beeped loudly and displayed the REP alert on the screen as each of the REP grouped lambs went through. The reader screen was set to display the weights of the lambs as they were scanned and Alan was able to take a final look at the recorded weights of the lambs on the screen of the reader.  a combination of viewing the lamb weights, visual assessment and the REP alert allowed Alan to pick the best 50 lambs for replacements.
This was Alan’s first year using the system but in subsequent years, the data analysis improves as Select Sheepware performance reports can average ewe performance based on 56 day and 90 day weights to be averaged over a period of up to six years.

Select Sheepware was designed to give farmers a fast and easy way to analyse ewe, ram and lamb performance, to permit selection of the lambs from the best ewes to be retained as replacements and to identify the underperforming ewes which need to be replaced. The Agrident readers are particularly easy to use for recording, allowing the full range of sheep management tasks to be recorded – births, deaths, tupping, scanning, weighing, medicine treatments, purchases, sales etc. All recording is done directly on the reader.  The software allows easy sorting and filtering with alerts being set on the animals which need to be drafted out from the flock. The Alerts transfer over to the reader, making the drafting process easy.