Lamb numbers to take a hit

Last updated 15:39 16/07/2013

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There are likely to be fewer lambs this year as a result of the drought.

Scanning of ewes for the number of lambs they were pregnant with showed sheep in the region's flatter land, which went to the ram in March, were still in reasonable condition, said scanner Guy Haynes from Totally Vets.

"There were not as many twins but not too many drys [non-pregnant ewes]."

Haynes said when they started getting to the later matings (about April 1) ewes were thinner and were pregnant with fewer lambs.

"Consequently the percentage [of lambs ewes were carrying] has tended to drop back by up to 20 per cent. These results are out of the Taumarunui area and Manawatu hill country."

Haynes said that as a general trend there were not as many twins this scanning and also a lot less hoggets had been mated.

Beef and Lamb New Zealand's economic service thought there would be about 3 million fewer lambs in the coming spring, as a result of the drought.

Ewes are in-lamb for about five months. Those mated in March will produce lambs in August.

Those on hill country are usually mated later, so they'll lamb in time for spring grass growth, which is generally later in hill country, than on flat land.

Most areas lamb in late August or September.

There are already a few early lambs on flat Manawatu country.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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