There has been good grass growth this autumn and winter.
Grass will be much more valuable to ewes after lambing, when their energy and protein requirement is three times higher than during mid-pregnancy.
So don’t be tempted to regraze fields that have already been closed, even where significant covers have developed.
In wet conditions, ewe intake is reduced, and the amount of energy that the sheep can consume is also significantly reduced, by as much as 20% in both cases, according to UCD research.
Therefore, in very wet conditions, and in particular when sheep are grazing out swards, it could essentially result in ewes achieving only slightly over 50% of their daily energy requirement.
In short, when grass is in short supply and weather is bad, sheep can lose a lot of body condition.
Keep an eye on ewe body condition in late pregnancy, and house or supplement when body condition starts slipping.
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