FRANCIS McCurry, from Cushendall-based farm supplier John McCurry and Son, has confirmed that the 2020 tupping season is about to get into full swing in the north Antrim area.
He explained: “Ewe numbers are fast increasing in the Glens of Antrim and surrounding region. But sheep is now much more than a numbers game.
“Farmers are seeking to really push the performance of their stock. Ewe fertility is a critical issue as is lamb quality. The figures confirm that lambing percentages are well up in Northern Ireland while the number of lambs killing-out with top quality grades in the factories is also on the rise.
“All of this is reflected in the price of breeding stock, both rams and ewes at the present time.”
Francis also explained that flock owners are committed to better managing their ewes and lambs. He continued: “At this time of the year this means providing ewes with supplementary feed before the
rams go in.
“Feeding meal on a daily basis is not a practical option for many flockowners in the north Antrim area. However, using Crystalyx ExtraHigh Energy feed buckets is!
“They are well proven in this part of the world. Sheep farmers know that the buckets act to ensure that ewes make the best use of the grass that is available to them. They are a genuine feed block.
“What’s more, they are totally weather resistant. They do not break up or dissolve away in the event of heavy rain or changeable weather conditions.
“Another benefit of the Crystalyx Extra High Energy buckets is the fact that they allow sheep to be kept on hill grazing until later in the autumn than would normally be the case. This is regarded as a genuine bonus by flockowners throughout our catchment area.”
David Morgan, from Caltech Crystalyx, was a recent visitor to Cushendall. He pointed out that Crystalyx Extra High Energy feed buckets can significantly and economically improve animal performance for sheep.
Independent trial work car-
ried out at Newcastle Uni-versity has shown that Crystalyx increases the rate of forage digestion by rumen bacteria (by up to 10 per cent). In turn, this stimulates forage intakes due to a reduced gut fill effect, increasing grass intake rather than replacing it.
David commented: “Cryst-alyx also increases forage digestibility so animals act-
ually get more energy out of what they eat. These benefits continue throughout the grazing season, as long as forage supplies remain plentiful.
“The Extra High Energy buckets provide all the min-erals, trace elements and vitamins needed to balance grass, which is essential for optimum animal performance and health.
“But the rumen bugs also need minerals to help them digest the grass and the little and often trickle feeding system supplied by Crystalyx is an ideal method of ensuring this.
“Crystalyx also provides a concentrated source of sugar. This is important to help maintain rumen digestive eff-iciency.”