Rate of 1.89 lambs/ewe encouraging as lambing season fast approaching
Lambing at Lyons will take place in six weeks' time. Ewes were scanned in late December and, like many farmers around the country, I'm glad to report an increase in litter size, conception rate to first service and overall conception rate.
For the mature ewes, the scanned litter size was 1.89 lambs per ewe. This is calculated for all ewes which were mated. This group had a conception rate of 93pc and conception to AI service of 79pc.
This is a significant improvement on the last three years and leaves us with many more triplet lambs to manage.
Our ewe lambs scanned 1.05 lambs/ewe (again, this was calculated on all ewe lambs mated) with an 80pc conception rate. Of the ewes (349) that went to the ram, 7pc are barren, 18pc are carrying singles, 55pc twins and 20pc triplets or more. We will certainly be reaching for our Volac Ewe 2 feeder again this year. The 7pc barren rate is too high but seems to be part of the system we are currently operating.
Our ewes have more or less retained the body condition score (BCS) they had at mating. At scanning time the flock averaged BCS of 3.2 with 80pc in the range of 3-3.5.
We are feeding a straight forward mix of barley, wheat distillers and soya hulls, with minerals and a small amount of molasses to give a 14pc protein ration. Both citrus pulp and beet pulp are difficult to get at value this year.
The singles are receiving silage only (77pc DMD) at the moment, the twins are on 500g per day and will remain at this throughout gestation and the triplets are also on 500g but this will build as pregnancy progresses. Protein content will be increased to 18/19pc for the last three weeks of lambing.