Sheep producers can improve returns by pregnancy scanning for multiple births and managing their flock accordingly.
Producers with ewes ready to lamb in July are urged to act soon to reap such rewards, with the ideal window for scanning pregnant ewes regarded as 90 to 100 days from the beginning of joining.
Department of Agriculture and Food senior development officer Mandy Curnow said the investment of 60 to 80 cents per ewe could easily be recouped by reduced feed costs.
“Pregnancy scanning enables producers to know which ewes are carrying multiple lambs and they can manage their mobs more effectively,” Ms Curnow said.
“In most flocks, more than 60 per cent of the lambs conceived are twins. Looking after the ewes bearing these lambs is much more important to lift the marking rate than increasing nutrition before joining.
“Lifting the twin survival rate from 50 to 70 per cent can mean an extra 15 lambs marked per 100 ewes in an average Merino flock, giving a five-fold return on scanning.”
By identifying ewes bearing multiple lambs, sheep producers can implement management strategies that can optimise the birth-weight of the lambs when they are born and, ultimately, their marking rate.
“Multiple-bearing ewes need more feed and ensuring these ewes are in good condition will lead to better ewe and lamb survival rates,” Ms Curnow said.
“Producers can then direct these ewes to the best paddocks with the most shelter and good predator control to maximise their marking rate.
“Identifying these ewes will also minimise the risk of wasting money on over-feeding single-bearing and dry ewes, which can be separated and run harder or culled.
“Growers are reminded that preferential feeding must be matched with good husbandry, especially if the ewes have been managed for high conception rates.”
For more information about pregnancy scanning visit sheepcrc.org.au
Media contact: Jodie Thomson/Lisa Bertram, media liaison +61 (0)8 9368 3937