By now, we’ve all heard about ewe body condition scoring.
It costs nothing, yet the difference it can make to your production is dramatic. It can increase your scanning percentage, lamb birth weights, survivability and growth rates – as well as your bottom line.
Last year was a tough season for most Wairarapa farmers, so it’s timely to consider our options, as we head into the new year. What can we do now that will positively influence productivity in coming months and into next season?
If you answered “body condition score” inside your head, then you are correct.
Once you get your eye in, it’s a quick and amazing tool. The goal is simple: by tupping time, you don’t want any ewes below a score of 2.5.
The good news is that weaning is the ideal time to take action. All you need to do is draft ewes into “3 and overs” and “unders”. Maintenance feed the “3 and overs” mob and priority feed the “unders” mob. You don’t end up feeding any more across your flock – you just allocate the feed more strategically.
Ideally, score the ewes a few times between weaning and mating, so you keep an eye on the lighter animals. Don’t be worried that you might not be a whiz at scoring immediately. Just start and you’ll soon realise it’s not a big deal. In fact, the difference between a body condition score of 2 and 3 is 7-9kg – and it’s the same difference between a score of 3 and 4. My point is that you really can feel that sort of difference under your hand, when you lay it on a ewe’s back.
So, how about giving it a go? B+LNZ has a series of two-hour body condition score workshops coming up in mid January in Masterton, Martinborough and Dannevirke. Check the events calendar here.
If you do come along, I predict it will be the best two-hour investment you make all year.