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PRE-LAMB. Nutritional Supplement for Ewes. Dr Sarah Thompson B.Sc. B.V.Sc. The 4 Season Company Pty Ltd. Background Ruminant Nutrition Nutritional Requirements of Ewes Lamb Survival Maximising Farm Returns. Prime lamb production. Producing prime lambs to make money

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Nutritional Supplement for Ewes

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Dr Sarah Thompson B.Sc. B.V.Sc.

The 4 Season Company Pty Ltd

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  • Background

  • Ruminant Nutrition

  • Nutritional Requirements of Ewes

  • Lamb Survival

  • Maximising Farm Returns

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Prime lamb production

  • Producing prime lambs to make money

  • Ewes are “engine room” of the sheep enterprise

  • Optimal nutrition of ewes to fulfil genetic potential

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Protein Supplements can

  • Improve conception rates

  • Increase birth weights

  • Improve colostrum production

  • Improve lamb survival rates

  • Increase ewe resistance to internal parasites

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Ruminant Nutrition

  • Ruminants utilize feeds that monogastrics cannot digest

  • Digestion by mechanical (chewing) and microbial fermentation

  • Bacteria produce volatile fatty acids – energy source for sheep

  • Dead bacteria – protein source

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Bacteria in the rumen

  • Require a range of nutrients to function and multiply

  • Deficiency or imbalance reduces microbial efficiency

  • Excess roughage slows down digestion

  • High quality diet – rumen empties faster, sheep can eat more

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Bypass Protein

  • Not all protein broken down in rumen – passes through to small intestine

  • Provides essential amino acid building blocks that bacteria cannot provide

  • Need balance between microbial protein and bypass protein for optimal digestive efficiency

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Protein Balance

  • Excess high quality protein deleterious – toxic and expensive

  • Feeding some bypass protein better than excess poor quality protein (urea)

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Bypass Protein promotes feed intake and weight gain

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Get the balance right

  • Balance between energy and protein

  • Balance between microbial and bypass protein

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Cottonseed meal – better bypass protein than lupins

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Nutritional Requirements of Ewes

  • Essential to produce at genetic potential

  • Target supplementation for times of greatest need

  • Needs lowest during maintenance and early gestation

  • Greatest needs late pregnancy and lactation

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Perils of over-feeding ewes in mid-pregnancy

  • Leads to reduced lamb birth weights due to stunted placental development

  • If adequate forage, no need to supplement after joining through to mid-pregnancy

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Birthweights reduced when ewes over-fed

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Over 80% foetal growth occurs in the last 6 weeks of pregnancy

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Colostrum production responds to protein supplementation

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Bypass protein essential for high performing ewes

  • Rumenal bacteria alone unable to meet protein needs of late pregnant and lactating ewes

  • Need high quality bypass protein

  • Greater need for protein then energy

  • Pre-Lamb meets the needs of ewes under stress

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Bodyweight recommendations

  • Run ewes at BCS 3 out of 5 at joining

  • Maintain this weight for first 50 days

  • Gain weight slowly over days 50-100

  • Increase body weight by up to 20% over last 50 days

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Feeding recommendations

  • Over-feeding and over-supplementing ewes will reduce production

  • Equals reduced farm profits

  • If adequate forage – only need a bypass protein supplement to achieve a 20% liveweight gain over last trimester

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What’s in Pre-Lamb?

  • Cottonseed meal – safe by-product of cotton industry

  • Contains 40% crude protein

  • Molasses – source of phosphorous and sulphur for bacteria, improves palatability

  • Molasses – source of glucose needed for lactation

  • Salt – stimulates voluntary intake

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Trace elements in Pre-Lamb

  • “White muscle” disease due to deficiency of vitamin E and selenium

  • High levels vitamin E in green feed, acquired by lamb in colostrum

  • Selenium passed to foetus in utero

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Maximizing the benefits of Pre-lamb

  • Joining ewes BCS 3.5 or less – increase conception rates by supplementing with Pre-lamb

  • Supplement pregnant ewes last trimester

  • Supplement lactating ewes for at least 8 weeks

  • Adequate forage must be available

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Benefits of Pre-lamb

  • Improved conception rates

  • Improved lamb birth weights

  • Improved colostrum production

  • Improved lamb survival

  • Increased ewe resistance to internal parasites

  • Increased number wool follicles

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Feeding rates for Pre-Lamb

  • 4 blocks of Pre-lamb per 100 ewes per 20 days

  • Daily intake approximately 40 grams/ewe/day

  • Pre-Lamb does not contain urea – safe for lambs to eat

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  • Easy to administer

  • A supplement when adequate forage available

  • Will improve ewe production if a protein deficiency exists

  • Improved animal husbandry – less supportive care for lambs and ewes

  • Improved production results in greater farm returns

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  • Consumers want ethically produced products

  • Pre-Lamb compatible with sustainable agricultural practice

  • Clever use of by-products from other primary products

  • Benefits to sheep, sheep producers and the environment

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Pre-lamb for prime lamb!

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