26 January 1996

ADAS straw advice

WHEN feeding straw to pregnant ewes for the first time ensure they receive adequate supplementation.

The advice, from Dr Elwyn Rees, senior ADAS livestock consultant, is pertinent in a year when spring lambers seem prolific. For this reason Dr Rees recommends that producers with March-lambers, which have not been pregnancy scanned, feed them as if for twins.

"Look at a minimum of 1.2kg a head a day of concentrates when feeding straw in the last two weeks of pregnancy." The supplements protein content should be at least 18% and its energy 12.5MJ/kg DM.

"As a guide, sheep should not eat over 0.5kg of concentrate in one feed," says Dr Rees. "Prod-ucers feeding straw-based diets should, therefore, consider feeding concentrates on the floor, if they are not using a home mix." &#42