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Sheep Reproduction in Australia, Current Status and Potential for Improvement through Flock Management and Gene Discovery

Project start date: 01 January 2000
Project end date: 01 August 2002
Publication date: 01 August 2002
Project status: Completed
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This review has been written on behalf of Meat and Livestock Australia in accordance with the Terms of Reference as provided on page 3. It aimed to assess the current reproductive performance of the Australian sheep flock and to identify areas of flock management and research where potential exists for improvement. The review was written in three Sections:

Section 1 - Reproduction in the ewe - from germ cells to lambing (author SK Walker)

Section 2 - Neonatal mortality and early growth in sheep (author DO Kleemann)

Section 3 - Molecular events in establishment and maintenance of pregnancy (author CS Bawden)

Each section consists of a number of Chapters and, at the end of each, a summary of important points relevant to that Chapter is provided. The final chapter of each Section contains an overview of the information reviewed together with a list of recommendations for flock management and/or future research. Each Section is complete with its own bibliography.

It is the firm belief of the authors that this review provides a solid basis for future improvements in the reproductive performance of the national sheep flock. It is conservatively estimated that implementation, on a national basis, of the management and research strategies outlined, would improve lamb marking percentages by 10-20%. This increase equates to an increase in income from the national flock of between $125,000,000 to $250,000,000 per annum.

More information

Project manager: Joseph Gebbels
Primary researcher: South Australia Research and Development Institute; Livestock Systems Alliance