Prepare livestock for next winter now

Farmers must start thinking about next year and be prepared for another possible bad winter, said SAC sheep specialist John Vipond at Scot Sheep.

Speaking during a nutrition seminar, Dr Vipond explained how farmers needed to learn from this year’s lessons with many sheep taking less supplementary feed than expected and as a result condition loss higher and lamb percentages lower.

“Let’s not get caught out again, as this time people may be less understanding,” he warned.

Dr Vipond urged hill sheep farmers to train hoggets when bringing them home, with many finding it difficult to get sheep to take feed as concentrates and forage. “Making sure feed reserves are in the correct place is also important in unpredictable weather conditions.”

Ensuring supplementary food being offered to hill ewes is meeting requirements is also vital, added Dr Vipond. “A review of feed blocks may be needed to make sure the correct nutrients are being feed, particularly to ewes in the last few weeks of pregnancy. With sheep making more money, it’s not just a case of necessarily feeding more but also feeding better quality feed,” he said.

Hear more from Dr Vipond on a podcast from the event at