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Beyond the Bale : March 2017
UPDATED LTEM APP REACHES FOR THE CLOUD Around 70% of lamb mortality that occurs between birth and weaning occurs within the first 48 hours of a lamb's life. Lamb survival is related to lamb birth-weight, which is strongly related to the nutrition of the ewe during pregnancy, particularly late pregnancy. Research indicates that the optimum birth- weight to maximise chances of lamb survival is between 4.5 and 5.5 kg. Lambing conditions and whether lambs are single or twin also affect the response. As shown in figure 1, as body condition score decreases so too does lamb birth weight with a one unit fall in CS reducing lamb birth-weight by 0.4 to 0.5 kg in both single and twin lambs. Birth-weights are most sensitive to changes in ewe condition in late- pregnancy. Obviously very fat ewes are not desirable either with such ewes experiencing other serious lambing problems and cost/ return issues. Lamb birth-weight is determined by ewe nutrition both in early pregnancy (during placental development) and in the last third of pregnancy, which is a period of rapid foetal growth. If single bearing ewes are kept in a condition score of around 2.8, and twin bearing ewes in condition score of around 3.0 for lambing the chance of lamb survival will be improved. The condition score of ewes becomes even more critical in circumstances where a poor lambing is more likely due to weather or feed limitations (see figure 2). Extensive research over many years has clearly shown that ewes in poor condition at lambing have significantly impaired maternal behavior (mothering instinct) and very slow milk letdown. These effects are on top of the lamb’s own survival instincts. These factors combine to make a very deadly combination with ewes in low body condition tending to produce small vulnerable lambs with a predisposition to die rather than thrive. This case study of lamb survival in Figure 3 (see right) shows that about 15-20% more lambs survive when born to ewes in condition score 3 compared to ewes in condition score 2.2. With more than 1,500 downloads of the original application, significant feedback has been incorporated into the latest version, including cloud capability to aggregate farm information from multiple users, new pasture assessment data, location settings and a new feed on offer (FOO) assessment tool. A free application for both Apple and Android phones, the LTEM App is a digital extension of the popular LTEM course offered through Rural Industries Skills Training (RIST). The course trains woolgrowers to maximise productivity by accurately measuring and managing the energy requirements and inputs of their ewe flock through the reproduction cycle (see page 44). The LTEM App incorporates all the key estimations and calculations of FOO, condition scoring, feed budgeting and supplementary feeding calculations. This App was largely created in house at AWI with assistance from RIST together with many who helped roadtest the App in paddocks and sheepyards across the country. Within the App there are various tutorials taking users through the various functions it contains. The development of the LTEM means users can carry with them millions of dollars of research and extension in their pocket and make day-to-day decisions to optimize flock management. This is an example of how AWI is creating innovative, practical and low-cost solutions to help woolgrowers improve the profitability of their businesses. The LTEM App is not a substitute but an addition to the LTEM course offered by RIST and funded through AWI. MORE INFORMATION The LTEM App is now free and is available at the iTunes store and soon through Google Play store. www.wool.com/LTEM One of the key learnings from Lifetime Ewe Management is that ewe nutrition is key to lamb weight and survival. The latest version of the Lifetime Ewe Management (LTEM) smartphone application is now available with various updated features. LAMB SURVIVAL INCREASES WITH IMPROVED EWE NUTRITION FIGURE 3 Lifetime Wool farmer case studies: ewe condition score at lambing and lamb survival (Source: Lifetime Wool) FIGURE 1 Ewes in better condition at lambing have heavier lambs (Source: Lifetime Wool) Lambbirthweight(kg) Ewe condition score at lambing Twin lambs 5.5 5.0 4.5 4.0 3.5 3.0 2.5 12345 Single lambs FIGURE 2 Ewe condition score at lambing and lamb survival (Source: Lifetime Wool) Lambsurvival(%) Ewe condition score at lambing Twin lambs 100 90 80 70 60 50 40 12345 Single lambs CS at lambing Survival of singles (%) Survival of twins (%) Western Victoria (4 sites) 2.2 3.1 74 86 38 56 All states (16 sites) 2.2 3.0 83 90 57 67 ON FARM 45
In the Shops - March 2017