Skip to content

A Leader – Follower System For Grazing Ewes

23 May 2017

When paddock grazing ewes and lambs could a leader/follower system help improve performance and make grass management easier?

Ewes With Twins As Leaders

Turning ewes with twins into the paddock first and moving them out quickly with the paddock being taken down to the required residual grass height by ewes with singles could have several advantages –

  • Twin lambs would always have the very best grass available ad-lib to maximise their growth rate.
  • The ewes would also have the best grass available ad-lib to help support their milk yield (further improving lamb growth rates) and allowing them to regain condition quicker.
  • Single lambs, in the adjacent paddock could be allowed to creep forward into the paddock with the twins so they would also have best quality grass available ad-lib.
  • Single bearing ewes (who are likely to be in better condition and producing slightly less milk) would achieve the desired residual sward height after ewes with twins have been moved onto the next fresh paddock.
  • The highest worm burden is in the base of the sward so the most susceptible sheep, lambs and twin bearing ewes, would have a low worm intake. The highest exposure to worms would be animals with the greatest resistance ie the fittest ewes with just a single lamb.
  • As the risk of worms increases over the summer, an increasing proportion of the “followers” will be dry ewes, their single lamb having been sold.

Basil Lowman,

Sign up to the FAS newsletter

Receive updates on news, events and publications from Scotland’s Farm Advisory Service