Optimising Weaner Growth Rates

4 tips for optimising weaner growth rates

4 tips for optimising weaner growth rates

AgriWebb’s go-to expert, Dr. Rick White of Bayer Grow, knows lambs. When we last sat down with Rick, he educated us on proper feeds for lambs during weaning. This time around, Rick laid out his top four tips for optimising weaner growth rates. As we all head into the final week before LambEx 2018, it’s time to implement these four best practices to ensure our lambs stay on track to hit this year’s growth goals.
Sheep and farmers in pen

Prevent pulpy kidney

Pulpy kidney most commonly develops in weaners on high-performance pastures, or those being grain-fed. Because there is no antidote to pulpy kidney, prevention is key.

To prevent pulpy kidney, it is imperative to keep lambs’ clostridial vaccination status up to date. Remember to administer a booster dose within 3-6 weeks of the initial vaccination.

Regular FEC & parasite treatment

Despite the overall trend of decreased rainfall in the southwest, it is still important to remember that rainfall events bring an elevated risk for parasites.

After each rainfall event, be sure to conduct regular fecal egg counts. If results indicate the presence of a significant number of parasites, treat immediately.

To minimise the impact of parasites on your weaners’ growth rates, try to place weaners on pastures with a low risk of parasites whenever possible. One example of a low-risk pasture is a cereal crop that has not previously been grazed.

Regular weight checks

Your weaners’ growth rates are a direct reflection of how they got their start in life – inside the womb of a ewe. Set yourself up for success next year by conducting regular weight checks on ewe lambs to produce the healthiest breeding ewes possible.
This best practice enables your crew to assess ewe lambs, and take action if necessary. This ensures ewe lambs remain on target to meet future breeding ewe weight targets.

Assess pasture quality and supplement feed properly

The underlying foundation of each animal’s health is pasture and feed quality. Assessing pasture quality and DM availability is critical to ensuring weaners’ nutritional requirements are being met.

Make sure that supplementation best matches each pasture type to achieve the best growth rates. For example, animals on a high protein pasture do not need high-protein lupins as a supplement.

Assessing pasture quality and supplement feed properly

Keeping track of it all

Keeping track of all of the moving parts on a farm is a lot of work. That’s why we at AgriWebb developed a system in partnership with industry experts. For more information on how to best structure your farm’s planning management, we’d love to chat.


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