This paper investigates the structure and characteristics of the full distribution of sheep farms achieving various levels of financial and technical performance. Analysing data from the Irish panel dataset, the Teagasc National Farm Survey (NFS) shows Irish sheep farms exhibit relatively low level of technical performance and that on-farm technical advances have been stagnant over the past 20 years. NFS data files not previously manipulated for research purposes are used to capture monthly animal data flows for the full sample of NFS sheep farms for the 3 year period 2008 – 2010. Utilising this data we identify and analyse key flock performance indicators including reproduction, mortality rates. These “Livestock Demographic” variables are important indicators for estimating and modelling flock dynamics and production, combining two drivers of flock performance: the biological characteristics of the stock on the farm and the farmers’ flock management practices. Results indicate the potential impacts on farm output and gross margins of improved animal performance which is achievable through specific technology adoptions.


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