Despite a challenging early grass season, the growth returned and ewes are generally in good, if not over fat condition. What has been hit are scanning rates and forage reserves for the winter. Dan Stevenson explains.

Most people seem happy with fewer triplets and quads this year, particularly with potentially less to feed them with over the lambing period. This situation reinforces the need to know exactly what you’re feeding relative to flock needs.

Start with analysing your forage; both how much you have and what it will provide. Big bale and clamp forages can be sampled and it’s always advisable to have different lots and fields sampled separately. Once you know this and what your ewes need based on condition and the number of lambs they’re carrying (we can help with this if needed), you can then work out the nutrient gap that needs to be filled with purchased feeds.

Approaching feeding in this way can leave you surprised at the quality of what you have. Whatever you’re feeding, don’t forget a source of good quality by-pass protein in late pregnancy for colostrum quantity and quality.

Finally, we can utilise the results from ewe blood samples to monitor feeding strategy as well as investigating problems. Levels of protein, nitrogen and ketones will give us an indication of protein and energy supply in the last two to three weeks of pregnancy. Please get in touch with us for any advice on feeding or blood samples. Occasionally we are able to access subsidised blood samples.