Three steps to success for joining ewe lambs

21 April 2017

Meridian Agriculture farm business and livestock advisor James Whale suggests - if correctly managed - joining ewe lambs can fast-track flock numbers and/or lift the financial performance of an enterprise. While up to 20% of maternal ewes are first joined as lambs in Australia, the figure for Merino ewes is only around 5%.

James presented his strategies for ewe lamb joining success in a recent Making More From Sheep webinar. Here are his top three focus areas for producers to ensure results:

1. Preparation: Plan ahead to ensure ewe lambs are gaining weight (100-200g/day) to hit a target weight of 45-50kg at joining. Feed quality and quantity has to be maintained to allow a ewe lamb to continue to grow, support a pregnancy, lactate and recover. "Do not join ewe lambs if you cannot meet the nutritional requirements," James said.

2. Do the figures: Supplementary feeding will be required, often at a high cost. Know what nutrition will be necessary to achieve essential growth stages and targeted outcomes.

3. Attention to detail: Producers need to get every aspect of management right to set up ewe lambs for lifetime productivity. "The aim is to not just produce a lamb, but a healthy weaner," James said.   Ewe lambs need to recover sufficiently from lambing to be ready for re-joining. "It's a 12 month commitment from the day the rams go in."

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