Home' Otago Southland Farmer : June 28th 2013 Contents 28.6.13 Farmer
A Consortium of AgResearch Ltd and Beef + Lamb New Zealand
Collecting data for Ovita's research projects is an investment in the future.
That's why Richard and Kerry France have chosen to be part of Ovita's 5K chip project, which
is a gene-based test that uses an animal's DNA profile to predict breeding values in rams.
The couple farm 566 hectares at Moa Flat in West Otago. As well as 1130 stud ewes, they run
commercial Perendales, yearly cattle and a deer operation.
They and 64 other sheep breeders throughout New Zealand are DNA-testing their elite ram
lambs - those identified via SIL with enhanced breeding value in specific genetic traits.
Progeny born this spring were genotyped using the SNP chip technology, and ranked to
verify each animal's genetic worth against the existing BV. The result will be much improved
accuracy of breeding values, which will help breeders identify the most superior animals for
their breeding programme.
The 5K test is currently being used as a proof of concept, but is likely to be commercially
available to breeders in 2013.
For farmers, this means fast-tracking the use of elite genetics in their own sheep, while
decreasing the risk of making the wrong selection decision.
There's no payback right now in being involved in the project for the Frances; in fact it's extra
work in blood sampling for the DNA testing. But they believe they have to be proactive in
leading genetic change that will eventually produce elite animals for the future. "It's about
thinking outside the square to keep in front."
The Frances also autopsied lambs for several years as part of the lamb survival programme.
Although there weren't any real issues and major lamb losses, there has been fine-tuning of
their management as a result, including weighing at birth, and preferentially feeding triplet-
This technology is a result of New Zealand farmer investment in Beef + Lamb New Zealand
- Muesli Mix
- Economy Calf
- Weaner Calf - Hi Protein Calf
- Denkavit Plus CMR
- Pellets/Meals - Rolled Barley
- Bulk Molasses - PK
Lambing & Calving
Groundwork integral to season preparations
Preparations for a good lambing or calving
season, starts months before the first animal
is due to be born. If that groundwork isn't
done, then all the preparation in the world won't
change the results achieved.
It is important that things on the farm are well
organised before the animals begin to produce.
Knowing what the expected arrival date is for the
first lamb or calf is very important, so that
preparations for the busy weeks ahead can be
made with this in mind.
To help with a successful lambing or calving, then
as many factors as possible need to be put in your
Preparation needs to include the welfare of the
cow or sheep, the feed supply, the facilities and
Having the lambing and calving areas organised
and all essential equipment in place prior to the
start of lambing/calving can help reduce both the
workload and stress levels at this crucial time.
Proper pre-lambing feeding is the single biggest
factor in reducing the workload at lambing time.
Treating small weak lambs on thin ewes with low
milk yields can be a time consuming nightmare at
lambing time and often results in high lamb
Preparation must not only include the welfare of
the cow or sheep, the feed supply, the facilities
but also the shepherd.
Lambing is the busiest and most labour intensive
time on sheep farms, so prior to lambing it is
important to put some planning into the
management of the ewe flock and the farming
operation to minimise the workload at lambing.
Lamb Warmer: Investment in a lamb warmer is
money well spent and a real necessity to have
over lambing time. A brief time spent in here by a
cold lamb can aid and speed up its recovery and it
can then be returned to its Mum.
Heat Lamps: These are an important tool to have
and very necessary during very cold weather. If
heat lamps are being used, then they need to be
well secured at a reasonable height to prevent
them from being knocked or from falling into
bedding and starting a fire.
Feed Needs: A bag of lamb milk should be on
hand from well before lambing is due to start.
Murphy's Law means that if you are not organised
then there is always an early lamb needing help
and a feed.
A supply of colostrum which can be frozen or
taken fresh from a single bearing ewe or one that
lost her lambs (not aborted) and collected
immediately after lambing is an asset to have in
Cow colostrum can also be used as a substitute. If
freezing, freeze in small containers/cups so as to
reduce the time taken to thaw out. Make sure
bottles, teats, mixing equipment are all ready
Medical Needs: Iodine for naval spray and
disinfectant. Disposable gloves. Good quality hand
Scanning: Scanning ewes prior to lambing is
something which is happening much more
frequently on the farm.
This allows farmers to group the single, twin or
muiltiple bearing ewes together in separate mobs,
and also meet their feeding requirements better.
These ewes canalso be regrouped again into
expected lambing dates meaning that ewes closet
to lambing can be concentrated on.
Work done earlier in the season shortly after the
ram has been ot is very beneficial here, and if
crayon colours are changed in the harnesses as
mating time moves on, then this can help with the
Facilities: Having the facilities
ready is as important as having the
sheep ready. Clear out the woolshed,
set up the lamb warmers and feeders,
and if possible eliminate some of the
drafts in this area.
Lambing pens and Lambing Sheds:
These should be set up out in the
paddock and in place before the first
ewe lambs. The ability to mother-on
lambs can save countless lambs in the
woolshed to be hand reared.
Lamb Feeding Equipment: One of the
most important items a shepherd can
have is a tube-- when a lamb is cold
and hungry and unable to suck, then a
quick feed of milk through this can be a
magic reviver. Bottles and teats.
Hygiene: This is an aspect often
overlooked, but crucial to the lambing
season. If ever there was a time when
extra vigilance in the hygiene area was
important, it is during the lambing
Other Handy Equipment: In the Shed:
Electric jug, First Aid Kit, Whisk, Mixing
Bucket or Large Jug, Funnel, Torch and
a spare set of batteries, clean lining
material for the lamb warmers (old
hessian sacks are great)
A notebook to record problems and
information that could be useful for
flock management subsequently. A blackboard to
leave notes for the family members helping to
feed the 'orphans. Rubber gloves.
In the Field: Spray markers and tags or other
methods (ear notcher) for identifying problem
cases, twin tags (lambing ropes), hand cleanser,
suture material for treating ewes.
Wet Weather Gear: Don't leave it until the first
storm day to unearth your wet weather gear.
Ensuring you have good wet weather gear can
help improve the misery of lambing through
stormy and wintery conditions.
Links Archive June 14th 2013 July 12th 2013 Navigation Previous Page Next Page