Grazing alone cannot always be relied upon to maximise ewe and ram fertility. We should not be complacent about mineral and trace element deficiencies pre-tupping, which is an important time of the flock reproduction cycle.
Even when grass growth has been good, essential trace elements can still be deficient and hinder fertility. Forage trace element analysis from across the UK has consistently found a lack of cobalt, selenium and other trace elements. This is often the case even at sites which have good quality grazing.
Thought should be given to the way trace-elements are provided in the diet. Trace element drenches such as Wynnstay AllVit T are an effective way of supplying a range of minerals quickly and effectively.
Preparations for tupping should start up to 8-10 weeks before the rams are turned out with the ewes, but at the very latest, six weeks before tupping commences. Give yourself plenty of time to rectify any problems or source replacement stock. Pay close attention to the key components of the diet to ensure fertility levels across the whole flock are maximised. Getting micronutrition right pre tupping will support fertility, and will lead to the best chance of a good scanning result and a healthy lamb crop in 2018. Drench ewes 3-4 weeks pre tupping to help ensure this.
Don’t forget the tups! All too often they can be neglected, and as they contribute 50% of the genetics to the flock, it is important that their condition is considered as well as the ewes pre-tupping. For example, sperm production typically takes six to eight weeks, so start ram preparations early, at the same time as ewes, to ensure this isn’t compromised. Consider drenching tups at 8 weeks and 4 weeks pre-tupping.
Find out more about trace element nutrition pre-tupping from your local Wynnstay Animal Health Specialist.