Lifetime Wool - more lambs, better wool, healthy ewes
  Medium Rainfall Sheep Zone - Western Australia

This zone is characterised by winter rainfall and a mix of annual grasses and sub clover. Due to a longer growing season than the cereal zone there are differences in pasture growth rates and total feed on offer produced. This affects the potential stocking rate and pasture utilisation and therefore affects the recommendations for ewe management.

Condition Score Profiles:

There is no universal optimum production system and the 'optimum' ewe CS targets will differ for different environments, production systems (e.g. genotype, time of lambing, flock structure) and commodity prices. The economic analysis that supports these recommendations is generated using the Great Southern MIDAS model. Download a full report of the modelling for this region   (250kB PDF) 

Late Lambing (late pregnancy on green feed) for  Merino ewes 

(click on image for printable version)

The optimum profile for spring lambing flocks in the Medium Rainfall Zone in WA is:

  1. to allow moderate loss of condition from joining to day 90, provided the condition can be regained prior to lambing on green feed
  2. aim for Condition Score 3 at joining

Ewes can lose some condition (0.4 of a condition score) over early pregnancy,however, they must regain all condition lost in early pregnancy by lambing.  Failing to meet this lambing target will decrease the value of the ewe's production by $11 per condition score. It costs at least $16/ewe to gain a condition score with grain feeding. Therefore gaining condition must be done with green feed.

 

This lose and regain profile is more profitable than other profiles due to  a lower supplementary feed bill over autumn, better use of emerging pasture and that there is a compensatory gain effect on lamb survival if ewes increase their condition in the last 1/3 of pregnancy.

Early Lambing (late pregnancy on dry feed) for Merino ewes 

(click on image for printable version)


The profitability of early lambing flocks is at least half that of later lambing flocks for a merino enterprise ($71 compared to $171).  This is due to lower stocking rates and a poorer match of pasture feed to animal demand.

     

The optimum profile for May  lambing flocks in the Medium Rainfall Zone region is:

 

  1. to allow moderate weight loss from joining to day 90 and then maintenance of weight through to lambing.
  2. aim for CS3.0 or above at joining
  3. aim for no lower than CS 2.6 by lambing

It is not profitable for ewe flocks to regain weight prior to lambing because the only feed available to achieve this is grain and it is too expensive.

 

These graphs outline the targeted CS profile and acts as a constant reference for how your mob is performing. Print out and plot the Condition Score of your mob against the targeted CS profile, so that by the end of the year you have a CS profile for your own ewes. Remember - ewe CS for joining can be influenced from weaning and therefore it is important to monitor changes in ewe condition between weaning and joining.

.....read more on the economic  impacts of missing targets at lambing and joining
....download a copy of the Ewe Managment Handbook

or choose further information on key topics (in the "ewe management" section)
How whole farm profit is affected by the condition of ewes
Improving ewe fleece weight and wool quality
Ewes in better condition at joining conceive more lambs
Improving lamb survival
More productive lambs through better ewe management
Managing twinning ewes for higher production
Managing ewe mortality

Tools including Pasture photos, condition scoring and feed budgeting

For more information on lifetimewool in Western Australia please contact:
Mandy Curnow, DAFWA, Albany 08 98928444


 

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Last Updated
March 17, 2011