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ARTICLES >> Livestock Case Studies

Select Twin-Bearing Ewes For More Lambs

Posted by Bestprac on Jul 05 2012

Goondiwindi vet Dr Mike Rival sees many Merino wool producers fail to maximise the number of lambs on the ground through a lack of attention to ewe selection and nutrition.

The old adage of breeders to breed ‘one good lamb’ is faulty, Dr Rival says.
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Case Study #4 - Select Twin-Bearing Ewes For More Lambs  

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Case Study Background

If 10 per cent of ewes in a flock are dry that leaves 90 per cent to lamb, and when you factor in the average loss of 10-15 per cent of ewes failing to rear all lambs, the woolgrower is left with a 70 per cent lambing.

New South Wales producer John Hickson has carried on the work of his father Darvall at ‘Eural’, Boomi in selecting ewes that bear and rear twins.

In a good year he marks 130 per cent lambs in adult ewes and in an ordinary year, 105 per cent. In his country in northern New South Wales, the easy part is getting ewes to conceive lots of lambs. The hard part is getting them to rear those lambs.
Mr Hickson says with good management it’s possible to raise 80 per cent of lambs in a twin bearing flock, but with poor nutritional management this can easily drop to only 50 per cent survival of twin born lambs. When over 50 per cent of ewes conceive twins in his flock, this is the difference between a good and an average lambing.

And he’s found that the family’s 40 years of selecting for fertility and rearing ability has had an unexpected spin-off – improved mothering ability in Merino ewes.

More scanning related articles - Scanning Pays Article July 2012
 

Last changed: Jul 10 2012

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