Lupin lambs get Landmark results | My Machinery
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Lupin lambs get Landmark results

Landmark is advocating the benefits of a lupin-based diet for ewes to increase lamb survival rates, especially as weather conditions continue to be so unpredictable. Lupins differ from cereal grains in that they supply about 2.5 times more protein and a safer form of energy (fat not starch) during a critical period of gestation, placing less stress on the ewe. Landmark animal nutritionist Luke Harrison said supplementing lambing ewes in the late stages of gestation would bring strong returns and better prepare livestock to counter difficult weather conditions. “The cost of the lupin-based diet is about $8 per head for six weeks leading up to and during birth,” Mr Harrison said. The added cost could be budgeted for in advance and was justified by “impressive outcomes”, he said. “This supplement pays off through strong birth weights, ease of lambing, mammary development and colostrum production which ultimately increases the lamb’s chance of survival. “Importantly, the nutrients passed on from the ewe provide the lamb with ‘brown fat’, or the lamb’s first energy reserves. This is crucial in ensuring the lambs get up, have a drink of colostrum and withstand what the environment throws at them,” Mr Harrison said. Recent results from the provision of a lupin-based feeding program at Parkdale stud, Dubbo, NSW, showed good resilience in lambs to this year’s tough winter. “The results show that a lupin supplement helped the farmer counter the weather conditions by having ewes in good condition pre-lambing and at the point of lambing,” Mr Harrison said. “In fact, despite the lower than average winter temperatures and rainfall, Parkdale produced greater returns through increasing its lamb survivability.” Parkdale Poll Merino stud owners Don and Pam Mudford (and their four children and partners) run 8000 ewes across 25,000 hectares in central and western NSW. This season, the family achieved a lambing rate of just under 130 per cent compared with an average of 120pc over the past four years. The trial was carried out in a flock of 1300 Merino ewes split up into mobs of 70 to 200. “It was worthwhile for two reasons; the positive animal welfare outcomes and the improvement to the bottom line,” Mr Mudford said. “We had achieved a lambing rate of 128pc in the past, but that was when the seasons were perfect, there was a large percentage of green feed available and the weather was kind at the time of lambing. “To achieve a lambing rate of 130pc in such a cold winter is excellent.” Mr Mudford said Parkdale had not grown lupins for stockfeed in the past, but would now include them in their cropping rotation for the purpose of supplementary feeding their lambing ewes. “There are more benefits than the extra 10pc in lamb survivability; our ewes are in better condition and the other 120pc of live lambs are ready to grow quickly. “Lamb survival is something the industry needs to face up to. It’s not good enough just put rams out with the ewes and achieve a high pregnancy rate; the community expects more of us than that. “We want to get our lamb survival rate to within 5pc of our scanning rate – this year it was up to 147pc – and this work with Landmark is helping us to get there.”

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