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Fit To Join – ewe assessment tools

New ewe assessment tools can help producers improve ewe and lamb survival?

Project start date: 14 October 2020
Project end date: 31 July 2022
Publication date: 08 September 2022
Project status: Completed
Livestock species: Sheep
Relevant regions: National
Download Report (1 MB)


The Fit to Join project has delivered new ewe health assessment tools to help producers improve ewe and lamb survival, and the potential to increase on-farm profit from $4–$8 per ewe. The resources developed can be used to classify sheep as whether they should be kept in the flock for another year or culled.


By 30 June 2022 the participant will have:

1. Conducted an in-depth literature review on existing best practice guidelines for ewe selection processes –completed in MLA final report format.
2. Completed and reported on a minimum of three (a minimum of one merino and one maternal based flock) producer case studies quantifying the impact of improved pre-joining selection practices.
3. Development of four short instructional videos. Storyboards to be approved by the MLA Communications team.
4. Development of a fit to join guide, consistent with the MLA style guide.
5. Development of a ewe 'fit to join package' (on-line and face to face optionality) collated and available for industry use –to be developed with input from the MLA Adoption Team
6. Submitted a final report to MLA incorporating a details of deliverables one to five and detailing monitoring, evaluation and communications metrics and activities.
7. Submission of a PowerPoint Presentation to MLA detailing project process, outcomes and remaining gaps.
8. Completion of a one hour webinar on project outcomes to MLA and industry stakeholders.

Key findings

The project's key findings include:

- Ewes are 4.4 times more likely to be scanned empty if they are classed as unfit compared to fit.
- Unfit ewes were three times more likely to die between joining and marking compared to fit ewes.
- Lambs had a 21% higher risk of death from scanning through to marking if their mother had a bad udder.

These impacts translated into significant modelled economic benefits for classing and culling ewes as unfit to join of between $4 and $8 per ewe.

Benefits to industry

The easy to use Fit to Join resources help producers improve ewe and lamb survival, and have the potential to increase on-farm profit from $4–$8 per ewe. To download the Fit to Join Ute guide, factsheet and watch the instructional videos visit