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Help calculating stocking per H/A

  • 06-12-2022 1:15pm
    Registered Users Posts: 1,220 ✭✭✭

    Hi all, Just looking for some advise for my OH uncle. He's a sheep farmer based in north Mayo, Ballycroy Achill area. Every time my OH visits he seems to have some problem/query re sheep for her to sort out ! He's a bachelor in his 70's living alone, he has been advised to retire but it seems that's not going to happen any time soon. His farm is basically 100's of acres of blanket boy type land very little if any reclaimed land, anything that was reclaimed by past generations is now gone wild.

    He had a letter from the department (of Agriculture!) stating that he's under stocked and to qualify for sheep grants he has to up the no. of breeding ewes in his flock - or that's my understanding of it. According to the letter the total area of the farm is 168 Hectares (not acres!) current stocking density is 0.06 LU / HA and to qualify for the grants he must have 0.10 LU / HA - what ever that means in lay man's terms, I haven't a clue😒. This is like a mathematics question in an exam ! What's the minimum no. of sheep does he need to have to to qualify for the grant based on the departments requirements ? He says he contacted the departments office in Castlebar some time ago but he's still waiting for a reply from them - he's worried that the sheep marts will close for the season soon and he needs to buy some ewes.



  • Registered Users Posts: 999 ✭✭✭roosky

    So a dairy cow is 1 livestock unit and a sheep is 0.1 livestock unit.

    So to qualify for grants that man needs 168 sheep to qualify. they don't need to be breeding ewes just sheep.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,220 ✭✭✭monseiur

    Thanks roosky, greatly appreciated. I wish the department would employ someone like you who could answer a question from an old man with a straight, easy to follow explanation / answer . It would save him a lot of unnecessary worry and the rest of us unnecessary grief😊

  • Registered Users Posts: 11,088 ✭✭✭✭wrangler

    Will they not have to average 168 sheep across the whole year, it'll need a lot of buying to get the 12 mth average up to 168 ewes at this stage if the average is only .06/ha.

  • Registered Users Posts: 999 ✭✭✭roosky

    Ya so he would need that for at least 7 months within the calendar year and as an annual average for the calendar year.

    As we all know you will have deaths with sheep so realistically he would need to be running maybe 180 or so to play it safe!

  • Registered Users Posts: 134 ✭✭kerrysoul

    A lot of work for a man in his 70's, surely he will cop on and retire and enjoy the fruits of his past labour

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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,220 ✭✭✭monseiur

    Agree 100% He has been advised to retire but he says it's his life. No doubt he sees retirement as a inevitable final step towards an old folks home. He spent a pile of money over the last year repairing and replacing post & wire fencing, all done by contractors. He's hoping that his nephew, who emigrated to Australia some years ago, will return home and take over but the reality is that's not going to happen but no one has the nerve to tell him. It seems that the quality of life, climate etc. is much better down under, compared to our rain swept rocky out crop in the north Atlantic 😉

    He has been approached by numerous farmers mostly from the midlands wanting to buy his farm or part of for forestry but all have been told in no uncertain terms it's not for sale. Two large adjoining farms have been sold recently one is currently being planted the other is awaiting planning permission for forestry, interestingly both buyers are dairy farmers from Laois & Westmeath.

  • Registered Users Posts: 134 ✭✭kerrysoul

    Well fair play to him. I admire his attitude and hope things work out for him.

    Maybe he could possibly buy some store bullocks in the Spring time and let the run on the land til Oct/Nov, sell them on before the winter. Less year old cattle than sheep required to meet the stocking density. I think 100 hectares @. 15 lu per ha = 15 yearlings. For 8 months this equates to 24 in total approx. It would be a lot less work at his age than trucking with sheep. If you buy a batch of 24 from a single source, they will be calm and used to each other. Give them some ration in Sept/Aug to get them used to people. That should be within his capability.

  • Registered Users Posts: 11,088 ✭✭✭✭wrangler

    Cattle less than two year old only count as .6lu

    Over two year old is one livestock unit