7 November 1997

Boost up tups on feed blocks

FLOCKMASTERS with May lambing ewes should consider offering feed blocks to ewes before tupping.

Signets Ian Ross warns that although there is plenty of grass available its quality is declining and energy levels may need to be increased to ensure ewes are tupped in optimum condition.

Condition score should be about 3 to 3.5 to meet the ram and ewes on a rising plane of nutrition.

When ewes are losing condition, Mr Ross recommends offering high energy feed blocks. "This is a convenient method of feeding and a Signet/SAC trial showed that ewes with access to blocks ate 12.5kg a head at a cost of £3.40 a head."

These ewes then produced 16% more lambs at scanning, generating about £8 a head extra income.

Mr Ross also advises keeping rams well away from ewes in the next few weeks to ensure ewes do not start cycling too soon.

"Ewes are at their most fertile in their third oestrus cycle so they must meet rams during the second cycle. If they are kept close to rams in the next few weeks they may cycle too soon and fertility will have declined before tupping."n