Scientist devises tool to help cut lamb losses

HILL farmers get 100 lambs, to sell or keep, from 100 ewes tupped; lowland farmers get 168; and upland farmers – those on high fields rather than moorland – get 151.

The story of those average results, with all their implications, is in the table, produced by EBLEX scientist Liz Genever, to give farmers targets to work towards.

She said: "Accurate records of lambs lost at every stage can be one of the most valuable aids to management improvement. Particular losses between scanning and birth, for instance, suggest more attention could usefully be paid to guarding against infectious abortion or nutrition problems. If higher than normal losses are occurring from birth to turn-out, improving hygiene or ensuring sufficient colostrum intake or quality might be more worthwhile.

"And where problems are encountered between turn-out and sale, better control of intestinal parasites and lamb diseases is merited."

CW 22/1/11