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Feeding Lactating Ewes

11 May 2018

With low grass height, some are questioning whether feeding the ewes in lactation is necessary.  The table below is based on feed budgeting – what do they need and what will the grass provide. Assuming grass is growing at 40 kg dry matter (DM) per ha per day (a reasonable estimate for the forthcoming weeks in May), the amount of feed required depends on stocking rate and grass height.

Kg Concentrate Requirements Per Ewe (Twin Ewes per acre)

Grass Height (cm)345

The concentrate should be at least 12 ME (megajoules of Metabolisable energy), if unsure ask the merchant and look for high energy ingredients such as maize, barley and wheat in the ingredient list.

For reference, a 75 kg ewe requires 3.6 kg DM per day based on good quality spring grass (12 ME) and allowance for waste (20%). At 3 cm, the target is to build the pasture back up to 4 cm, therefore reductions are made to the grass supply side of the calculation to account for this.

Poppy Frater,

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