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Optimise ewe performance and improve farm sustainability

With more farmers seeing variable forage samples, there is a growing opportunity to include protected soya in sheep diets. Research and practical application of making the most from forage and providing protected protein sources can have positive impacts on flock health and survivability.

Anecdotal feedback and work done by John Vipond, and others, have shown that over the last month before lambing, ewes fed on an adlib mineralised silage with either 100g of soya (per lamb) or 50g of Ultra-Soy can reduce labour and feed costs. This was noted due to smaller amounts of supplementary feeding and making use of good quality silage to provide ewes with their required energy. A target of 1 bale per 4 ewes of ME 11+ or more is needed. Blood testing on a sample of ewes can be done if there is any doubt in silage quality.

Feeding the right nutrition not only makes a big difference to ewes but will make a significant impact on lamb survivability through ewe colostrum quality. Correct nutrition also reduces the risk of watery mouth and twin lamb disease.

Looking ahead there is ongoing uncertainty across the sector, not to mention the volatility the industry is experiencing with raw material prices; all reasons enough to assess forage quality and balance cost effectively. Working with suppliers, vets and your NWF ruminant sales specialist can aid in creating and maintaining a resilient and productive enterprise.

Although this will not impact this season, now (post lambing) is the time to start thinking about the forthcoming silage season, discuss with NWF Agriculture what you can do to improve your forage for the 2024/2025 lambing season. We would suggest a review of your reseeding policy, fertiliser application rates and the use of a good silage additive to provide the best quality protein in forage for the coming season.

For further information on NWF Sheep Feeds, please click HERE.

By NWF Head of Straights & Commodity Trading, Rupert Stafford.

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