Farmers show drive to reduce lamb losses

Farmers in Wales are so keen to reduce lamb mortalities that a project investigating the reasons for losses has been extended to incorporate 36,000 ewes.

Hybu Cig Cymru had been seeking a cross-section of 50 hill, upland and lowland producers to record losses for their Wales-wide project but the response has been so great that 74 farmers have been signed up. The flocks range from 600 ewes to 1,700 and include commercial and pedigree animals.

Farmers started recording information at scanning and the findings will be delivered in October.

Dr Julie Finch, operations director with Innovis, the Aberystwyth-based sheep breeding specialist delivering the project, told farmers at NSA Welsh Sheep 2011 that the findings could mark a turning point for the industry.

She said the preliminary findings had come as a surprise to many of the farmers involved. “One told me that at the start of the project he would have expected to have counted his losses on the fingers of both hands, but it was only when he filled in the recording sheets that he realised the full extent of his mortalities,: said Dr Finch.

The project will look at trends and typical causes of death and this information will not only be fed back to farmers in detailed reports but will be shared with the wider farming community through discussion groups and other forums.

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