Grass can be used for all batches of lambs but needs careful management to ensure quality and quantity is maintained.
This is the advice from Eblex’s Liz Genever, who says sheep producers should also be aware weaned lambs can readily eat into the reserves kept for flushing and over-wintering ewes, which may affect ewe performance and bought-in feed requirements.
She says: “Some monitoring of the grass is required to optimise the performance of the stock and the grass. Sward heights are the simplest way.” (See table).
“Grazing pasture at the right height ensures the lambs are eating high-quality grass. The leaf is the most nutritious part of a plant, so maximising the leaf and minimising the amount of stem in each bite increases the nutritional quality of the diet and lamb performance.”
Dr Genever adds white clover in pastures can increase the rate of lamb liveweight gain from weaning to slaughter by 25 per cent and counter the summer dip in grass growth and quality. “Good grazing management in spring is key to achieving good clover levels from midsummer onwards.
“Using a group of weaned lambs is a good way to start rotational grazing systems, as it is simpler to manage a group of animals of similar weight and feed requirements. Give them the priority in terms of feed quality, moving them through each paddock first, so they are able to select the best bits.”
|Weaned finishing lambs|
|Rotational grazing||Pre-graze (cm)||10-12|
|Set stocking (cm)||-||6-8|