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Nutritional management for reproductive efficiency

Jordan, D.J. and Hatcher, S. and Lee, G.J. and McConnel, I. and Bowen, M.K. and Della Bosca, A.J. and Rowe, J.B. (2006) Nutritional management for reproductive efficiency. International Journal of Sheep and Wool Science, 54 (2). pp. 35-41.

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Publisher URL: http://sheepjournal.une.edu.au/sheepjournal/

Abstract

Nutrition influences reproductive efficiency and the survival of lambs and weaners but the costs of supplementary feeding or maintaining low stocking rates are not justified by the resulting income from higher lamb weaning rates and reduced weaner mortality. The current practice of segmenting the ewe flock using ultrasound scanning to determine the number of foetuses still results in groups of ewes with a wide range of condition scores and with widely differing nutritional requirements. This report describes an approach to precision management of pregnant ewes and weaners that is based on the e-sheep platform of technologies and uses computer-directed drafting for nutritional management of individual animals and walk-through weighing to monitor changing nutritional status. It is estimated that the cost of feeding a thousand-ewe flock can be reduced from $14,000 for feeding all animals to $3300 for targeted feeding of 25% of ewes requiring additional nutrition and 20% of weaners at risk of dying. The cost of the targeted feeding strategy is more than justified by the value of additional 12-month-old animals, which is $9000. The e-sheep precision nutrition system is not attractive to industry at this stage because of the cost of the e-sheep infrastructure, the perceived complexity of the technology and the requirement for further research, but it is expected to be a commercial option within three years.

Item Type:Article
Corporate Creators:Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation (DEEDI), Agri-Science, Crop and Food Science, Animal Science, Regional Services
Business groups:Agri-Science, Crop and Food Science, Animal Science
Additional Information:© The University of New England. © The Australian Sheep Industry CRC.
Keywords:Nutrition; Reproductive efficiency; Lambs; Weaners.
Subjects:Animal culture > Sheep
Animal culture > Feeds and feeding. Animal nutrition
Deposited On:20 Feb 2009 06:22
Last Modified:25 Oct 2011 04:56

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