SHEEP producers using a Split Joining system in variable seasons have a better chance of getting lambs to target sale weights than systems with a single joining time, by being able to utilise pasture.
A groundbreaking study being carried out by Charles Sturt University as part of the EverGraze project has uncovered some surprisingly favourable outcomes for the novel Split Joining system.
The system involves joining some of the Merino flock to terminal sires for a winter lambing while the remaining ewes are used to generate replacements born in spring.
Australia’s average sheep lamb marking rate has not altered from 77 per cent over the past 15 years but this joining system may improve profits from sheep flocks.
Testing two different lambing times for the first time on summer-active perennial pastures, the research reveals the benefits of Split Joining do not stop at being able to manage feed effectively in tough seasons.
By having a tight first two week joining in February a uniform line of lambs to be put up for sale is more likely and by pregnancy scanning these ewes after joining, underperformers can be identified and culled or pushed into the second, longer, four to five week April joining.
At a Wagga Wagga trial site, during a failed spring year, the Split Joining system for Merino ewes to terminal sires compared to July and September lambing, achieved seven per cent less lambs weaned per hectare but in terms of kilograms per hectare of lamb sold, was 20 per cent higher due to higher sale weights.
The EverGraze, “More livestock from perennials” study, aimed at improving sheep flock profitability, found that in a dry spring, July born lambs can be weaned and sold as store lambs and if necessary, ewes sold after weaning.
*Extract. Full report Stock & Land
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.