22 November 1996

Feed block training

HILL sheep farmers could significantly improve lambing percentage and boost margins by training hoggs to eat feed blocks.

According to SAC trials, gimmers confined to bare pasture and offered feed blocks for five days before joining the rest of the flock on the hill for summer produced an extra 32 lambs/100 gimmers compared with the untrained gimmers.

A trained gimmer raised 0.88 lambs, while the untrained gimmers reared only 0.56 lambs apiece, despite all the gimmers being offered feed blocks in late pregnancy and during lambing.

According to Rumenco, the cost of blocks during training – fed at 7.5 blocks/100 gimmers – came to £44, but the additional number of lambs meant margins improved by £660/100 gimmers.