Shearing ewes prior to tupping, prior to housing or twice yearly results in higher lamb birth and weaning weights compared to shearing at a conventional date, according to research undertaken by Tim Keady of Teagasc, Athenry.

Lambs from ewes shorn conventionally averaged 30.7kg at weaning, while their counterparts from ewes shorn prior to tupping or housing weighed an average of 32.7 and 32kg respectively, while those from ewes shorn twice yearly weighed 31.4kg apiece at weaning.

But shearing season had little to no significant effect on litter size, with all ewes in the study averaging more than two lambs/ewe born. And while ewes shorn either prior to mating or housing reared an average of 20% more lambs than those shorn at a traditonal date, this wasn’t statiscally significant, reported Dr Keady.