Monday, 8 June 2009

Grazing Plan through to Post Lambing

Yesterday morning we set aside a couple of hours to develop a plan for sheep moves through to the end of lambing, which should be around 20 September 2009.
Our objectives are to:
1. Move them past / through the sheep yards in the next few days when we will give them a booster (annual) vaccination. It is the right time now given they have only just arrived on our place and are about the right stage of pregnancy so that the lambs in situ will benefit as well.
2. Move the animals reasonably frequently ensuring good nutrition levels are maintained. We'd like to lift the condition score slightly to around 3 to maximise the ewes' ability to lamb comfortably and raise the lamb through to weaning.
3. Graze what we have designated the 'reserve lambing paddocks' first, meaning that they will have as much recovery time as we can give them before the next grazing. We expect this to be immediately post lambing but we may need this to be slightly sooner if the lambing paddocks end up not providing as much feed as we believe they should.
4. Graze all of the other paddocks except for the lambing paddocks prior to lambing. Importantly this will include the heavily timbered paddocks as it will be much more difficult to move ewes with lambs at foot through them later on. We expect that on average the time in each paddock will be around 4 to 6 days, and we will only remove 20 to 30 % of the existing herbage mass from each one.
5. Not graze any of the lambing paddocks prior to lambing to ensure maximum quantity and quality of feed. These paddocks will be 'set-stocked' during lambing to ensure the best mothering is provided. We have determined the lambing paddocks based on topography and tree cover (for shelter) and open grassland.
Now to implementing the plan and monitoring the results!

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