One hundred Cranmore black and white tag ewes were condition scored on November 21 2005 with excellent results.

The average condition score over one hundred randomly ewes was 3.7, whilst medium body weight was 63.1 kg.

Optimal for breeding

The condition score of average was optimal for breeding according to Department of Agriculture Research Officer, Samantha Giles. “Joining at a condition score of 3.5 or more is optimal for ewe fertility and for fetal growth of the lamb,” Ms Giles said. “In addition, a good condition score at this time of year allows the ewes to decrease in condition slightly after joining and then increasing condition using green feed available, in other words saving money on the costs of excessive supplementary feed.”

Good nutrition

Cranmore condition scored their ewes as part of a project looking at the use of a feed budgeting tool over the summer and autumn period. The information gained from the project will be used to determine the quality of feed over this traditional low-quality feed period and allow Cranmore to more accurately measure the nutrition of its ewes pre-joining and during early pregnancy. Long standing research has shown that appropriate nutrition during pregnancy allows for best fetal development including secondary wool follicles and allowing for full genetic potential to be reached later in life.

The Lifetime Wool Project has found that good ewe nutrition during late pregnancy and lactation can have a positive effect on the production parameters of subsequent progeny; including an increase in greasy fleece weight and a reduction in fibre diameter.