MAXIMISING lambing percentages and growth rates will pay off this year.

The size of the ewe breeding flock fell in 2018 and the knock-on effect, in England, will be a significant fall in this season’s lamb crop.

As we reach the main lambing period, farmers are being reminded to have a system in place for rearing orphan and weaker lambs from multiple births where the ewe may be struggling.

Cargill ruminant nutritionist Georgina Croxford said: “It’s been a relatively easy winter so far but we mustn’t be lured into a false sense of security. The challenges are still there when it comes to caring for newborn lambs and ewes.”

She encourages farmers to have a system set up – like the Shepherdess feeder - to use for orphan or weaker lambs. “This feeder has an insulated bucket with internal pipes that won’t freeze on a cold night, and it provides lambs with ad lib warm milk – it’s heating element maintains milk at a desirable 22⁰ to 32⁰C.

“It’s an ideal way of feeding up to 20 lambs in one group – they can go on to the feeder as soon as they can stand and suck.”