Improving the reproductive efficiency of ewe lambs

Lyndon Kubeil and Jason Trompf - Meat & Livestock Australia

Type: Research Paper
Knowledge level: Advanced

Farm Table says:

Huge number of merino and crossbred producer case studies.

What is the problem?

The aim of the PDS to improve the reproductive efficiency of ewe lambs (lambing at 12-15 months) in both cross-bred and Merino sheep leading to improvements by at least 10% in flock reproductive performance.

What did the research involve?

  • Review the current management practices and performance achieved by producers who are joining ewe lambs
  • 120 producers
  • Ewe lamb mating was trialed on 15 properties between 2010 and 2012, involving 4 crossbred flocks and 11 merino flocks.


What were the key findings?

  • Less than 5% of Merino producers are joining ewe lambs, with 75% of those producers undertaking the practice having a scanned in lamb % of less than 80%.
  • A case study was undertaken on a producer who has been joining ewe lambs for some time. The case study was conducted on Nigel Kerin from Yeoval in central west New South Wales. Nigel had been joining ewe lambs for 8 years, with varying success. The critical success factors observed by Nigel for achieving good reproductive performance in merino ewe lambs include:
    • At least condition score 3.0 at joining
    • At least 38kg at joining
    • Better results at 8 months plus at joining rather than 7 months
    • Body wrinkle score of less than 3,
    • Noticed significant sire effects, where even at these targets outlined the daughters of some sires would struggle to get 30% in lamb as a ewe lamb, while others would achieve 95%.

Refer to full paper for other producer case studies.


2013 - Australia - Lyndon Kubeil and Jason Trompf - Meat & Livestock Australia
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