• THERE is no difference in pain levels whether docking lambs using rubber rings on or between tail vertebrae, according to Andrew Notman of Writtle College, Essex.
• HIGH energy concentrates can be replaced with home mixed diets or grainbeet, giving a significant cost saving. However, trials by Newton Rigg researcher Charlie Minter show that lambs will grow 25% more slowly and take 10-20 days longer to finish on cheaper rations, requiring greater planning where achieving target sale dates is important.
• ADDING sodium bicarbonate to sheep rations could help maintain intakes when concentrate is introduced. Sarah James, a PhD student at SAC Edinburgh, said that including bicarb at a rate of about 2% where diets are offered ad-lib could help overcome acidosis.
• FEEDING fishmeal allows ewes to mobilise body fat to produce more milk, giving better lamb growth rates than vegetable based replacer products, said Harper Adams researcher David Handford.
• EWES fed maize silage will tend to select the grains, meaning predicted ration energy and protein levels can be unbalanced, said Harper Adams Simon Marsh. He advised feeding more protein to balance rations.