Maximising ewe and lamb survival and health during lambing is a high priority for the sheep industry to improve both animal welfare outcomes and productivity.
An MLA-funded 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 ‘Fit to Join – Ewe Assessment Tools’ project (led by Pinion Advisory in conjunction with Livestock Logic, Nilon Farm Health and Hot Tin Roof Communications) developed a series of ewe assessment tools to aid the selection process prior to joining.
The tools can be used to help producers select which ewes should be retained in the flock and joined for another year or culled.
The project's key findings include:
- Ewes are 4.4 times more likely to be scanned empty if they are classed as unfit (to join) compared to fit (to join).
- 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.
For more information or resources, visit: https://www.mla.com.au/fittojoin