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More Lambs Per Ewe

More Lambs Per Ewe

From the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology

For immediate release


Some Wairarapa farmers are achieving more lambs per ewe after a successful research project that aimed to boost the farmers' returns. The three-year project, supported by Technology New Zealand, entailed giving the ewes a vaccine to produce more eggs, vaccinating them against abortions and scanning them ultra-sonically. "It has redirected our efforts to where we can make the biggest and easiest gains," says the chairman of the 30-farmer group, Andrew Pottinger. The pregnant ewes are scanned with ultra-sound gear. "Those with more than one lamb are separated from the rest and given better treatment," he says. "That means the best paddocks and the safest country for lambing and better feeding." Mr Pottinger says the single-lamb ewes will be more likely to be culled from the flock. "It sounds ruthless, but you have to put your feed where your returns are." He believes that most of the farmers would have achieved significantly more lambs - perhaps 20 to 30 percent. "And we've done this despite a drought for some of us out towards the coast. On the other hand, the guys up around Eketahuna and Pahiatua have had to manage lamb survivors in very wet areas. They've had some really wet springs." Neil McLaren, Agriculture New Zealand farm adviser for the project, says the project undoubtedly improved farm management, "identifying what was hindering or restricting the birth potential of lambs". "So farmers had to look at their abortion rates, ewe and lamb weights, feed, and, of course, how to manage in sometimes difficult climatic conditions - whether in a drought or in the wet." Mr Pottinger says his group had to do something to improve profitability. "Money is in lamb at present, not in wool." Technology New Zealand is the Government agency that invests in research into new products, processes or services as part of a plan to fashion a knowledge-based economy. -ends-

Contact: * Andrew Pottinger, (we need a physical address here). Ph: (06)372-6879. Fax: (06) 372-6869. Email: * Neil McLaren, AgNew Zealand, Masterton. Ph: (06) 370-8925. Email: * Nigel Metge, Technology New Zealand at the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology (Auckland Office), (09) 912-6730, or 021 454-095. Website:

Prepared on behalf of the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology by ID Communications. Contact: Ian Carson (04) 477-2525,

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