20 October 1995

Lambs a ewe key to profit

THE number of lambs sold a ewe is the main difference in financial performance between the top and bottom third of flocks and is worth £16 a ewe in gross margin.

"Correct nutrition," says John, Naylor sheep specialist for Dalgety Agriculture, "is essential to maximise kilogrammes of lamb sold a ewe.

"A short flushing period alone will not guarantee a large lamb crop and achieving a target condition score at tupping is crucial to maximise ovulation rates.

"Score can vary with different breeds and conditions, but is usually within the range of three to four for lowland ewes," says Mr Naylor.

After mating ewes should stay on the same plane of nutrition for about one month with as little disturbance as possible to allow them to settle.

"Feed levels must be maintained at a reasonable level at this time, but if too high, ewes will be fat in late pregnancy making them more susceptible to twin-lamb disease and lambing difficulties," he says.

During the last two months of pregnancy the unborn lambs grow at a faster rate and ewe feeding must keep pace with requirements. It is at this time that the segregation of ewes into raddle-marked week groups at matings show to advantage.

"Concentrate supplementation of the first group may start a week ahead of the second marked group and so on," he says.