30 August 2002

Lambing labour is kept to a minimum

AI carries with it a number of benefits, most notably labour savings at lambing, ease of lamb management and quick genetic progress.

"Keeping labour requirements at lambing to a minimum is a major concern," says Frank Moffat. Synchronising the ewes for AI means the bulk holding to the first cycle will lamb within four or five days of each other, with returns in another block 17 days later.

"We also induce ewes to lamb in bunches over a four or fiveday period, then we can be on hand when ewes are lambing without having to keep popping out to the lambing shed every five minutes for a month or so over the lambing period," explains Mr Moffat.

Lambing most ewes at the same time also helps with lamb management.

"With a large group of lambs at the same growth stage,we can ensure they all receivethe right management at eachstage of growth."

With the increasing importance of scrapie genotyping in the sheep sector, Mr Moffat believes that AI is of particular benefit to pedigree breeders.

"AI allows rams of desirable genotypes to be used across many more ewes than they could serve naturally." &#42