Tailored approach essential to improve lamb survival

Jill Griffiths - Farming Ahead

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Knowledge level: Intermediate

Farm Table says:

Interesting data and insights from Charles Sturt University Researcher, Dr. Susan Robertson.

Charles Sturt University researcher Dr Susan Robertson states that if you cannot change lambing time to increase lamb survival, you must optimize nutrition.

She reiterates that “the single most important factor in improving lamb survival is ewe nutrition”.

Robertson outlines:

  • Lambs born to well fed ewes are able to cope better with poor weather.
  • Research results have outlined that overall lamb survival can be increased by 7% or more by feeding a ewe 0.5kg/day with barley or lupins for the two weeks bridging peak lambing commencement.
  • Shelter can also make a huge difference. In cold, windy environments like Hamilton in Victoria, row of tall grass has improved survival by 50%.

Research into the cause of death of lambs have explained:

  • 80% of deaths to be a result of starvation, mismothering, exposure and lambing difficulty
  • 20% to primary predation, infection, deformity and mineral deficiencies.

Dr Robertson has found that, on average, 20% of lambs born will die, with 90% of these deaths occurring during the first week after birth.

2016 - Australia - Jill Griffiths - Farming Ahead
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