Sheep: Excluding fencing grants from TAMS II is a big mistake
During the last week of September we sponged all the ewes that will be inseminated next week (October 12-15). The ewes are also being weighed, condition scored and checked for lameness. All the information is being recorded by a technician from Sheep Ireland.
These traits will have an influence on conception rate and subsequently on the number of lambs born next spring. The weight of the ewe is generally governed by her breed. For example, a big-boned Suffolk could weigh 90kg where a light-boned Belclare may only weigh 70kg. The advantage is that you can carry five light ewes instead of just four of the heavier ones on the same area of land.
This means you should be able to sell more lambs per acre. This works, but only if you are selling more kilos of meat per acre. Based on a simple calculation using a weaning percentage of 1.5 lambs per ewe, the four heavy ewes produce six lambs; if they kill at a maximum paid-weight of 22kg, this gives you 132kg of saleable meat per acre.
The five heavier ewes living on the same acre produce 7.5 lambs. Say they are not as heavy at 20kg each, which gives you 150kg of meat. But this is still an extra 18kg at a price of €5/kg equals €90/ac extra.
Condition score is a method of estimating the condition or nutritional well-being of your sheep flock by assessing the amount of muscle and fat covering the backbone and ribs of each sheep.
The most important time in the annual cycle of the ewe to be at target condition score is at mating.
The condition score of the ewe at mating impacts on subsequent litter size and weaning rate.
Research has shown that every one unit increase in condition score at mating leads to an increase at weaning time of 0.1 lambs per ewe, so you have the potential of selling 10 extra lambs per 100 ewes to the ram.