On Sunday 26th June, Suffolk Sheep Society South of Ireland breeders from all over the country turned up to Charleville Agricultural Show to compete in the Irish Suffolk Sheep National Championships from which there had been an absence of 3 years as a result of the pandemic. It was great to see such a high level of interest at the Suffolk ring and we were especially delighted to see some of our Suffolk Colleagues from the Netherlands attending the Show while on a visit to Ireland.
The Society were delighted to receive a new cup for the Supreme Champion of the Show. The Tom Quirke Memorial Cup was presented to the Society by Ann Quirke-O’Mahony on behalf of the entire Quirke Family in memory of her late Father who was an enthusiastic and forward thinking Suffolk Breeder, from his Flock’s establishment in 1967 up until his death in August 2017.
Despite inclement weather conditions, enthusiasm was high as Judge William Fleming of the Hallhill Flock in Scotland prepared to take to the ring. The standard of sheep presented on the day was a credit to all the breeders participating and showcased the Suffolk Breed to its full potential to all those watching the show.
The show kicked off with the Junior Handler class which saw 7 enthusiastic young stock persons demonstrate their knowledge and ability to handle sheep. It was 15 year old Harry Graham of the Westside flock, which he established in 2020, who received the red rosette from the Judge.
In the Shearling Ram class, it was Arthur O’Keeffe who dominated with a Birness Freedom son with Coote Geelan’s Cairness Diamond Geezer son taking second and Harry Graham’s Errigal Jack the Lad’s son taking the third spot.
The sun shone as the Aged Ewes took to the ring with Susan O’Keeffe’s home bred ewe, sired by Castleisle Kilteskin Prince taking the top honours in the Class. In the Shearling Ewe Class, Susan O’Keefe dominated the field once again catching the judge’s eye with her Annakisha Ewe, again sired by Castleisle Kilteskin Prince. Her second entry also sired by Prince took second and Kenneth Bailey’s Cairness Cobra sired ewe took the third spot.
In the Novice Class it was Coote Geelan of the Loughrynn Flock who took top honours with his stylish ewe lamb, sired by Beechbrook Oscar. It was a tight call between Kenneth Bailey’s ewe lamb sired by Cairness Our Bucks and Ann & Dan O’Mahony’s Errigal the Emperor sired Ewe lamb for second and third but the judge settled on Lismurtagh second and Ballygarvanstud third in the class.
The Ram Lamb class was next in the line up where Susan O’Keeffe’s Muirton One Direction son took top honours with Sean O’Connor of the Islandmore Flock claiming his first rosette of the day, taking second with a Beechcrest Bacardi son. Third in the class was Ann & Dan O’Mahony’s Blackbrae Diamond son.
Next it was the turn of the ewe lambs and the first class in was the Untrimmed Ewe Lamb where Philip Byrne of the Limepark Flock showed a lamb by Errigal Simply the Best. She was a stylish ewe lamb who emerged from the class victorious, claiming the red rosette, much to the delight of Philip’s son Padraig who had shown her earlier in the Young Handler Class.
The final class of the day was the Trimmed Ewe Lamb which resulted in a hat trick for the O’Keeffe family with Patrick and his Blackwater Flock taking first with his Ballinatone BT Buddy son, Susan taking second with her ewe lamb also sired by BT Buddy and Arthur taking third spot with his lamb sired by Castlewellan Sportsman.
In the Female Championship it was Susan O’Keeffe’s Shearling Ewe who claimed the top honours and Philip Byrne’s Untrimmed Ewe Lamb took the Reserve spot.
The Male Championship was awarded to Arthur O’Keeffe’s Shearling ram with Susan O’Keeffe’s Ram Lamb taking the Reserve Spot.
In the Final Showdown the judge tapped out Susan O’Keefe’s Shearling Ewe as his favourite of the day to claim the Supreme Champion title and the newly presented Tom Quirke Memorial Cup, with Philip Byrne’s Untrimmed Ewe lamb emerging as Reserve Champion.
The Society would like to thank our sponsors for the day – Connolly’s Redmills and Animax-Vet for their generous support. We would also like to express our gratitude to the Sheep Section Show Committee for setting up the penning and showing area and for running such a well organised event.
We are delighted to announce that after a three year absence due to the Pandemic, our National Suffolk Championships will take place at Charleville Agricultural Show, Co Cork on Sunday June 26th.
Classes on the day will include Young Handlers, Shearling Ram & Upwards, Aged Ewe, Shearling Ewe, Novice Lamb – Male or Female, Ram Lamb, Ewe Lamb Trimmed & Ewe Lamb Untrimmed. We are very much looking forward to this prestigious event from our Suffolk Calender and we hope to see you there.
Our flockbook is now hosted on the Sheep Ireland database and provides you with your online flockbook account to view the current animals located in your flock. You can now use your online account to record the information required by the breed society throughout the year – i.e., mating, lambing, animal movements etc. You can also request pedigree registrations and animal genotypes via the account. Several helpful flock management reports for your flock are also available. There is a HELP button at the top of most pages with instructions and guidance on how the page works.
How to Log in
To access your online account go to www.sheep.ie and click ‘Online Services’. Enter your personal department flock designator as your username (IE04 followed by 5 digits – IE0412345). If logging in for the first time, you will need to create your own password. To do this, click on the ‘forgot password’ link which you will find on the online services page. This will send an email to the email address attached to your flocks account (if you did not include an email on your application to the society you will not be able to access your online account, (Please contact the South of Ireland office directly to correct this).
Follow the simple instructions on this email to create your password.
First steps once you get logged in
Please check your flock inventory once you log in. It is crucial that this inventory is accurate and kept up to date. If new sheep need to be added, you can do so by using the ‘Add Animal’ function under the ‘Inventory’ tab on your account. Contact the society if you have any issues adding sheep. If sheep have been sold or have died, please record this information accurately in a timely fashion using the animal sales screen or the death tab. Every effort was made to ensure a smooth transition of the Suffolk Sheep Society – South of Ireland Flockbook onto the Sheep Ireland database, however if you see something inaccurate please contact the SOI office directly and we will correct it as soon as possible.
Record your ewes recent pregnancy scan results, including your barrens
Order a genotype for your stock ram/s. This is compulsory. You can also genomically test any other animal in your flock if you so wish.
NB: ALL STOCK RAMS MUST BE GENOTYPED INCLUDING RAMS USED IN 2021
Add your 2022 lambs as soon after birth as possible, by clicking on ‘Lambing Management’ located under the ‘Management’ option on your account.
Make recording your lambing even easier!
Download the Sheep Ireland app to your phone and record your lambing data as it happens. Our LambPlus members have found this app extremely user friendly and efficient.
We strongly encourage all society members to join the LambPlus performance recording programme. To continue and increase the rate of genetic gain in our breed, we must collect as much data as possible on our breed. There are also many perks, such as subsidised genotyping costs and access to the LambPlus customer care team.
PLEASE NOTE: If you are considering joining the LambPlus Program, Sheep Ireland have extended the online application deadline for the LambPlus 2022 season for Suffolk members until 24th January 2022
You will see a yellow banner appear on your homepage when you log into your Sheep Ireland account and you can simply sign up there. Alternatively, call their office on 023 88 20 451 to discuss what’s involved or email email@example.com to express your interest in joining. Sheep Ireland will be closed over the Christmas period and will re-open again on Tues 4th Jan.” Please bear with us as we transition from the Grassroots system into the new Flockbook system on the Sheep Ireland system. Inevitable there will be some queries and adjustments to be made.
If you have any queries, please contact the Suffolk Sheep Society – South of Ireland Branch office directly either by phone on 083 0907313 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Harry Graham from Ballygawley, Sligo has always had an interest in sheep. At age 13, he has just sold his first Pedigree Suffolk Ram at a Suffolk Sheep Society accredited sale.
Born into sheep farming through his Mum and Dad, Alison & Garth Graham and his Grandad, Bert Irwin, he took a keen interest from a very early age and once he got his first pair of wellies, there was no stopping him! The family farm has always carried commercial Suffolk cross ewes, but in 2011, his Mum & Dad decided to start a Pedigree Suffolk Flock, (Kirriemuir Suffolks) affiliated to the Suffolk Sheep Society. Kirriemuir Suffolks won a number of Certificates of Merit in last year’s National Flock Competitions for the UK & Ireland. Unfortunately, these did not take place in 2020 due to Covid 19 restrictions.
Harry has been helping out on the farm since he was able to hold a bottle, feeding pet lambs and gradually progressing to helping out with more difficult chores required throughout the farming year. It wasn’t long before Harry wanted some sheep of his own, so after receiving some money for his 8th birthday party, he insisted on going to the mart to ‘Buy some Sheep’ for himself! He bought a super hogget ewe which turned out, unexpectedly to be in lamb, and his parents gifted him the best Suffolk Cross ewe lamb on the farm the same year. The following year, he had 2 lambs – a ewe and a ram. He retained the ewe lamb for himself as a breeding ewe and sold the ram lamb. Harry’s policy for the past few years has been to retain his good ewe lambs and sell everything else. With the money he saved from his sales, in 2019, he decided he would start up his own Pedigree Suffolk Flock.
The Suffolk Sheep Society actively promotes Youth Membership, and runs competitions for young breeders, young handlers and encourages young members to learn about all aspects and key elements of modern farming.
Harry named his flock ‘Westside Pedigree Suffolks’ and in 2019 he purchased 2 females. A ewe lamb from Quarrypark Suffolks in Galway and an in-lamb Gimmer from Malinhead Suffolks at the All-Star Female Sale in Blessington in November. His Gimmer lambed a terrific Ram Lamb with superb progeny from some of the top flocks in the UK & Ireland such as Solwaybank, Lakeview, Cairness and Clyda. He has taken responsibility for looking after this ram since it was born and has nurtured it through to be a superb lamb with great bone & carcass.
Harry joined the West of Ireland Registered Pedigree Suffolk Sheep Breeders Club in 2020 as a junior member. This allowed him access to the Pedigree Sales which take place each year in the West of Ireland. He brought his ram lamb to the Club Premier Sale which took place in Roscommon on Saturday 29th August. This sale is the largest sale in Connacht for Pedigree Suffolk Ram Lambs and farmers travel from all over the province to purchase top quality Pedigree Rams for the up-coming breeding season. It was a particularly successful sale this year with over 90% clearance of rams on the day and Harry was very pleased to sell his ram to a large commercial farmer.
Harry now plans to re-invest his money in another in-lamb gimmer at this years All Star sale to add to his flock. His Quarrypark Ewe Lamb and his Malinhead Gimmer have already been running with one of Kirriemuir Suffolks stock Rams, Errigal Jack the Lad, who won the Certificate of Merit in the UK & Ireland Flock Competition in 2019. He is looking forward to the lambing season for 2021 which starts in January and to a successful sales season next year.