21 December 2001

Abundant grass & weather cause of copper deficiency

MILD weather and extended grass growth this autumn could increase the risk of copper deficiency, or swayback, in hill sheep flocks at lambing time.

SACs John Vipond warned producers at the Lockerbie meeting that the mild autumn meant sheep on high hills still had grass to eat. Normally by this time the grass would have gone and they would be eating heather.

"They rely on heather to provide them with copper. If they are still eating grass, there is a risk of increased levels of swayback in lambs," said Dr Vipond.

He advised treating ewes at risk with copper needles as soon as possible. &#42