Ewes' body condition score will reveal all
Now that all the ewes that lambed in early March are weaned, it is time to start getting ewes ready for their next breeding season.
The most important task is to get the ewes up to at least 3.5 Body Condition Score (BCS) before mating. The key drivers of profit in a sheep flock are, kilos of lamb per hectare, weaning weight of lambs and the number of lambs weaned per hectare.
The most important factor influencing these is the percentage of ewes that are under condition score 3 at mating and at lambing.
It's all about minimising the number of ewes that fall into this category, as these are the ones that are bringing down the overall flock performance.
For this reason once the ewes have been dried off they should be put through the race and physically handled. What you are doing is assessing the amount of condition by feeling the spine and short ribs with your hands.
Score them on a scale from 1 to 5, with 1 being extremely thin and 5 being over-fat. Don't take too much time as it's not about exact numbers - put a hand on them, make a decision and move on.
My method is that all ewes that go up drafting race below BCS 3.5 need to be marked and drafted off.
Then we usually pick off ewes with a BCS of 2.5 and run them with the ewe-lambs. Some of these ewes may not reach BCS of 3.5 by mating time so some will be culled. We will give BCS 3 ewes good grass as these girls need to put on about 12 kg before early October.