Joining Management

Type: Research Paper
Knowledge level: Advanced

Farm Table says:

This factsheet provides a simple checklist for ram and ewe management for maximum reproductive success.


This fact sheet is produced by AWI and states that it is widely accepted that a more fertile Merino flock is a more profitable one. While it is true that, if the increase is not costly, additional surplus sheep sales would make the enterprise more profitable, there are limited low cost options for improving fertility.

As ewe liveweight at joining is the largest determinant of subsequent fertility, there are two issues to consider in the pre-joining management of sheep.

  1. Is it possible to achieve a higher weaning percentage by influencing the environment of the ewes, or more specifically by feeding them better?
  2. What needs to be done to ensure the maximum number of lambs weaned from the existing pasture conditions which exist?

They key parts of the fact sheet are:

  • providing supplementary feed
  • cost of additional weaning percentage from liveweight  at joining
  • maximising the weaning percent with current feed availability
  • ewes
  • rams
  • managing additional weaners
  • case study – managing feed supply and demand

IN conclusion they claim that although it is widely accepted that a more fertile Merino flock is a more profitable one,
the benefits of improvements in fertility are often overestimated and it is rare that supplementary feeding ewes to increase the number of lambs born is profitable.


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