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Match Good Scanning Story With Ewe Nutrition

19 February 2015

IRELAND – Many Irish farms should be adjusting ewe nutrition to take good scanning results into account.

Recent scanning results, much like last year, suggest a large little size is on the way, according to sheep specialists with the Agriculture and Food Development Authority (Teagasc).

Mid-season lambing flocks, on the whole, completed scanning in January, while hill flocks will gather in February to assess nutritional needs and segregate ewes accordingly, says Teagasc.

UFL is a unit of energy used in Ireland and a net energy figure = to a kilo of barley. Table courtesy of Teagasc

More lambs mean ewes need more protein and energy two months prior to lambing, Teagasc said in its February newsletter.

“Ewes with triplets and quads should have been started on concentrate feed eight to ten weeks out from lambing depending on forage quality,” said Teagasc.

“Look at the ingredients in your sheep feed. Pregnant ewes need high quality concentrate feed that consists of high and medium quality energy inputs and a good quality protein source.”

On the Athenry, study farm, Co. Galway, Philip Creighton reported scan rates of 1.78 in medium prolific flocks and 2.1 in high prolific flocks. Stocking rate has had little impact on litter size this year.

Mr Creighton said: “Ewes are now being offered grass silage at 73 dry matter digestibility and have been grouped according to scanned litter size and lambing date as predicted by raddle colour, which was changed weekly during mating, and will be offered concentrates.”

After growing through the winter at 3 to 5 kilos per hectare per day, grass cover is currently at 6 to 7 cm deep - 700 to 900 kilograms of dry matter per hectare.

Mr Creighton said: “Nitrogen in the form of urea will be blanket spread on all farmlets at a rate of 23 units/ac (half bag) once soil temperatures are above 6- 7 centigrade in early to mid-February to help boost grass covers prior to turnout in March."

“The pre-lambing clostridia booster will be administered in mid-February ahead of a lambing start date of March 6.”

Picture courtesy of Teagasc

Michael Priestley

Michael Priestley
News Team - Editor

Mainly production and market stories on ruminants sector. Works closely with sustainability consultants at FAI Farms.

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