Ewe lamb/ram lamb ratios

jonty1

Member
Livestock Farmer
I have received the following reply to my enquiries to the Dept of Ag New South Wales and I thought it might be of interest to you.


Thanks very much for your email. It is very interesting the sex ratios you observed after feeding a grain-based diet. This is consistent with some of the results we have obtained from pen feeding studies here in Wagga. We have seen up to 65% female lambs when Merino ewes were fed a high-grain diet leading up to joining, which is very similar to what you observed. We think that feeding a high grain diet (about 70% of the total ration) that is high in omega-6 fatty acids (relative to omega-3) for 6 weeks prior to joining can result in a higher proportion of females. This means that you would have to start feeding shortly for a February joining.

We have less evidence about skewing the ratio back towards males. However, I was involved with a study where ewes were fed fresh lucerne prior to joining and this was associated with a sex ratio skewed significantly towards males. Our recommendation at the moment (without having all the evidence required) would be in order to try to increase the amount of male lambs, feed some type of green feed (lucerne seems to work, but we don’t know about hay compared with fresh). We have fed silage in our pen trials (oaten, wheaten or ryegrass silage in our trials, I can see no reason why lucerne silage would not have a similar effect) and have usually seen a skew towards males (around 55% males).

We will see how we get on this year.
 
if thats so, i could be a useful tool, oats the best for omega 3 i wonder, simple to feed and also help to raise bcs. if required, as ewe lambs would be most prefered here.
 
If only we had some high protein green feed we could feed our ewes on over tupping......
why don't you try some lucerne, ? chuck on a fair hit of lime...on a decent soil fairly well drained field .. its a surprising plant ime.
good stuff even if the above theory has no substance
 

Al R

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
West Wales
why don't you try some lucerne, ? chuck on a fair hit of lime...on a decent soil fairly well drained field .. its a surprising plant ime.
good stuff even if the above theory has no substance
It also does nothing all winter, there’s a few fields between 2 of my blocks with a neighbour, they grow like duck in the summer months but don’t move a thou from November-March yet grass/clovers keep growing.
 
It also does nothing all winter, there’s a few fields between 2 of my blocks with a neighbour, they grow like duck in the summer months but don’t move a thou from November-March yet grass/clovers keep growing.
that's the theory , but i've got no grass anywhere atm.....(n)

i liked it when i grew it anyway, made crackin hay and sheep did like crazy on it, seems to suit them , no need to be scared of just grazing it either.
 

jonty1

Member
Livestock Farmer
We will be mating our ewes at the end of this month and I have just put out a roll of lucerne. No oats, lupins or anything else. We had some rain in the last three weeks which has brought on a fair amount of green pick. Normally we get nothing as we are mid summer here. The lambs are doing well and do not seem to have dropped behind at all which is good because the heavy lambs brought $300+ last week. Mind you it is probably to be expected as there have been shortages due to heavy stock losses in the bushfires - now its raining in NSW and they have floods - go figure!! I will let you know how we go with the lambing.
 

andybk

Member
Location
Mendips Somerset
We will be mating our ewes at the end of this month and I have just put out a roll of lucerne. No oats, lupins or anything else. We had some rain in the last three weeks which has brought on a fair amount of green pick. Normally we get nothing as we are mid summer here. The lambs are doing well and do not seem to have dropped behind at all which is good because the heavy lambs brought $300+ last week. Mind you it is probably to be expected as there have been shortages due to heavy stock losses in the bushfires - now its raining in NSW and they have floods - go figure!! I will let you know how we go with the lambing.
what sort of weight was that ?
 

neilo

Member
Location
Montgomeryshire
oh yeah, i forgot you're in Wales :sneaky:
There was a focus farm by Builth Wells that was trialling it over several years.
We’re drier than a lot of Wales, but it would still drown here through the Autumn & Winter, as it would in a lot of pastoral farms in the UK. No doubt it’s a useful crop in areas that burn up ever summer, but it will struggle to survive anywhere else, and certainly not as versatile as a PRG/White Clover ley (or as ‘abusable’) in most situations.

Good feed though. We used to buy in a product called ‘Greenbeet’ by the lorry load many years ago. From a mill in Dorset, it was a 50:50 mix of beet pulp and dried lucerne, and used to be delivered to North Glos for £110/t iirc (much cheaper than dairy nuts at the time). Cracking stuff.👍
 

jonty1

Member
Livestock Farmer
what sort of weight was that ?
The paper quoted a dressed weight of around 40kg so I assume they would have been in the 80kg range. The photo had them looking pretty well built - think they were dorsets or maybe a cross, In order for them to be classed as lambs they have to have their lambs teeth - no breaks or adult teeth coming through.
 

jonty1

Member
Livestock Farmer
We will be mating our ewes at the end of this month and I have just put out a roll of lucerne. No oats, lupins or anything else. We had some rain in the last three weeks which has brought on a fair amount of green pick. Normally we get nothing as we are mid summer here. The lambs are doing well and do not seem to have dropped behind at all which is good because the heavy lambs brought $300+ last week. Mind you it is probably to be expected as there have been shortages due to heavy stock losses in the bushfires - now its raining in NSW and they have floods - go figure!! I will let you know how we go with the lambing.
what sort of weight was that ?
Sorry - I may have misled you. They were not our lambs that brought $300+ these were lambs that were reported in the AgTrader. They were sold at a market in New South Wales last week.
 

andybk

Member
Location
Mendips Somerset
Sorry - I may have misled you. They were not our lambs that brought $300+ these were lambs that were reported in the AgTrader. They were sold at a market in New South Wales last week.
thats ok , just wondered what type of lambs were making $300 , i presume they would have been export types to usa/china as they tend to pay on big weights
 
There was a focus farm by Builth Wells that was trialling it over several years.
We’re drier than a lot of Wales, but it would still drown here through the Autumn & Winter, as it would in a lot of pastoral farms in the UK. No doubt it’s a useful crop in areas that burn up ever summer, but it will struggle to survive anywhere else, and certainly not as versatile as a PRG/White Clover ley (or as ‘abusable’) in most situations.

Good feed though. We used to buy in a product called ‘Greenbeet’ by the lorry load many years ago. From a mill in Dorset, it was a 50:50 mix of beet pulp and dried lucerne, and used to be delivered to North Glos for £110/t iirc (much cheaper than dairy nuts at the time). Cracking stuff.👍
i dunno im pretty good at killing off pr and wc after a year or 2 as:oops: well,


it doesn't mind wet hair but not wet feet, max production will come from plenty of water available (and of course sunshine) in the growing season
the dry weather advantage comes from longer rooting,(which is PR 's downfall) yes deep free draining fertile soil ( P,K, and Ca etc not N that it makes itself tho of course ) will be its best yielder. but thats not to say it wont outyield pr in pooer much drier soils/time and we do get long periods of them dry times now it seems

My avatar pic was it at 3rd summer, from being sown 3 summers previously, i didn't feed it as much as i could have, for max production anyway, as the field was to go to another use not requiring left over so to speak , i gave it a good seeing to :( with a drum mower the following year but by then fields use was not available to us....

i might have a go at it another time possibly if we can spare the right kind of field at the time.

the current 'trial' idea is to get more Cocksffoot in mixe s on variabe soil types this year i think, :unsure:
 
Not a easy crop to grow. Short growing season in UK will not like to be hammered in winter in my experience. Chicory maybe
look at my avatar picture, that lucerne Was hammered every winter it was here . everything gets hammered here by sheep from December to April. even arable crops if im that desperate or they are too thick.
ime it wasnt difficult to grow slow to establish yes and ,modest arable crop growing type ability will help possibly.
and the growing season here is the same for all the plants we grow ;)

BTW i grow Chicory as well, that lasts about 3 years , mind you we let a piece go to seed so it will be interesting to see if any of that regenerates its self. i suspect not as the comp. will be keen in that prg wc ley.

every time we reseed as an arable break nowadays we chuck some chicory in the mix, it establishes with the rest of the types, then when its gone its gone, its not expensive to do , it adds some diversity, brings up minerals for the stock and sends its tap root down to topsoil for us instead so saves us using diesel and tractor hours and metal wear and less money tied up in yet another wasty implement.

Actually I've seen Lucerne grown in Australia btw, is was in a river valley, (not much water in that river its true)deep soil, but irrigated and cut six times a season.
could probably have cut mine 4 times but i grazed it more than conserved it actually , something that its undersold for ir. and i don't irrigate.
 
look at my avatar picture, that lucerne Was hammered every winter it was here . everything gets hammered here by sheep from December to April. even arable crops if im that desperate or they are too thick.
ime it wasnt difficult to grow slow to establish yes and ,modest arable crop growing type ability will help possibly.
and the growing season here is the same for all the plants we grow ;)

BTW i grow Chicory as well, that lasts about 3 years , mind you we let a piece go to seed so it will be interesting to see if any of that regenerates its self. i suspect not as the comp. will be keen in that prg wc ley.

every time we reseed as an arable break nowadays we chuck some chicory in the mix, it establishes with the rest of the types, then when its gone its gone, its not expensive to do , it adds some diversity, brings up minerals for the stock and sends its tap root down to topsoil for us instead so saves us using diesel and tractor hours and metal wear and less money tied up in yet another wasty implement.

Actually I've seen Lucerne grown in Australia btw, is was in a river valley, (not much water in that river its true)deep soil, but irrigated and cut six times a season.
could probably have cut mine 4 times but i grazed it more than conserved it actually , something that its undersold for ir. and i don't irrigate.
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All I can say is that your very fortunate that it grows in your neck of the woods. In my neck of the woods it's not successful, there's better grasses and legumes for kg/ha/year.
 
If only we had some high protein green feed we could feed our ewes on over tupping......
buy in some of that lucerne hay or they sell for horses or pellets for the ewes at tupping time... just for a bit of research... :whistle: even just one extra Ram born would cover the cost....:unsure::sneaky:
 

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138: Special episode: Covid-19 impact on the Potato sector

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In this special issue of the Potatoes Podcast we will discuss the impact of Coronavirus on the Potato Markets. A fresh update on how Covid-19 has resulted in an increased demand on the retail market, while the chipping market has suffered the hardest hit. The uncertainty of the current situation will force businesses to...
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