Farming in the current situation, with most farms having a high stocking rate, feed is being carefully managed. It is great to see lots of well conditioned healthy stock in the paddocks. In the studies that have looked at bearings, they have confirmed that a risk factor for bearings is ewe weight gain between mating and scanning. This is good news in current times – maintenance feeding may reduce your chances of bearings. (If at all possible, don’t drop weight though, as we still need the ewes to grow a good size placenta to support good lamb birth weights).
Shearing in the first half of pregnancy is another risk factor. Leaving it till the second half of pregnancy is preferable when it comes to bearings – however this can pose other problems, and good shelter and feed provisions are essential. This may be a bit harder to manage this year!
Feed planning is essential for optimum stock performance. Something to keep in mind when working out how long your crops will last - is that feeding swedes late in pregnancy is a risk factor for bearings. Keep this in mind - especially for your twin and triplet bearing ewes. Other things to avoid in late pregnancy are steep paddocks and salt.
- Donna Hamilton