Scan data not best used
ABOUT half to two-thirds of the national flock are scanned but many producers still do not make maximum use of the data, says Leics-based scanner Bill Johnson.
"Scanning is more efficient now than when it began in the early 1980s. Ewes do not have to be tipped over and throughputs are about 200/hour," says Mr Johnson.
He believes a competent scanner is 100% accurate on assessing if the ewe is pregnant and at least 95% accurate in assessing whether she is carrying one, two or three lambs. The best time to scan is between 35 and 80 days after tupping. Scan too early and it is trickier to detect the number of foetuses.
"Scanning cuts feed costs by identifying barreners which can be sold, but also allows better targeting of feed use for pregnant ewes. Ewes identified as carrying singles can also be earmarked as foster mothers, making fostering easier.
"Foster lambs can be introduced when the ewe starts to lamb down and before she has her own lamb. She assumes the foster is hers, and take-up is very good," he says.
Less indecision about whether a ewe is carrying more lambs reduces the need to investigate births, which can introduce infection. *
• Cut winter feed bill.
• Fewer lambing difficulties.
• Fostering made easier.