Reproductive performance is a key determinant of profitability. Merino ewes are typically joined to coincide with their peak natural cycling activity between March and May to lamb one month before peak pasture production. First-cross or meat breed ewes are typically joined one or two months earlier.
90% of Merino ewes and 95% of crossbred ewes should conceive in the first two cycles (35 days) of the joining program to ensure a tight lambing period1. The objective, therefore, is to optimise fertility (i.e. the ability to conceive) and fecundity (i.e. the number of embryos per ewe) in this short period.
Increasing pregnancy and overall conception rates can have a significant and lasting beneficial impact on the productivity of your flock. More lambs will be born earlier and will reach market specifications and/ or critical joining weights sooner. Likewise, ewes will have more time to regain body condition before the next lambing.
A comprehensive animal health program before joining can optimise the health and reproductive performance of ewes by:
1 Making more from sheep. Module 8: Wean more lambs. Meat & Livestock Australia, 2008.