Joining is when the potential lambing of your flock is established, so it’s imperative that you make the most of it. AgriWebb spoke to Dr Rick White, head vet and leader of the Bayer Grow program, and he shared his insights into how to best prepare rams and ewes for this important time.
Tips for ram preparation
Lambing potential will be maximised if rams are able to work and have viable sperm during the joining period, so they need to be in the best condition possible.
6 - 8 weeks pre-joining
- Shear rams, as they work best when in short wool, however, avoid handling and shearing stress within six weeks of joining, as it can affect sperm production.
- Perform a soundness examination, checking the 5T’s (teeth, torso, tossle, testicles, toes). Include scrotal palpation and ensure all rams are brucellosis free, culling those that aren’t.
Rams should be.
- Condition Score 3 at joining. Begin providing supplementary feed up until joining if needed, with a protein supplement such as lupins to help sperm production.
- Ensure vaccination boosters and Vitamin B12 injections are up to date.
2 weeks pre-joining
- Begin to adapt rams to the same supplementary feed program ewes are being fed, to minimise the risk of acidosis
- Check rams again for structural soundness before joining.
Tips for ewe preparation
If ewes are in the right condition at joining, their ovulation rate and the chance of conceiving twins increases. Ewe nutrition is paramount here.
- Target bodyweight for maiden ewes is 85% of their mature bodyweight, while adult ewes should be Condition Score 3 or more.
- Ensure all ewes are in positive energy balance for the last six weeks leading into joining, providing supplementary feed if required.
- Correct for deficiencies of trace elements such as selenium and copper, both of which ewes need to produce healthy lambs.
- Vaccinate and drench ewes, and inject with Vitamin B12.
- Avoid shearing or crutching during or immediately after joining.
Thank you to Dr. Rick White for sharing these tips and we look forward to speaking with him in the future on a number of different topics concerning the red meat industry and its producers.
Did you find these tips helpful?
AgriWebb has worked with Dr. Rick White and other experts to develop the Operational Planner. A tool that allows Australian beef and lamb producers the ability to develop a custom calendar unique to their operation. Get tips and recommendations just like the above, on a daily basis via the Operational Planner.
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FACT: By altering his shearing date, according to a recommendation from the Operational Planner, an AgriWebb user increased his scanning percentage by almost 20%!