The impact of singleton-ewe stocking rate (SR, 11, 13, 15 ewes ha) during lactation on ewe and lamb performance to weaning was examined over three years. Pasture mass before lambing in 2014 was considerably higher than that in both 2015 and 2016. At weaning in 2014 there was no effect (P>0.05) of SR on ewe live weight, while in 2015 and 2016, SR 11 ewes were heavier (P<0.05) at weaning than both SR 13 and 15 ewes. Lamb live weight during lactation was not affected (P>0.05) by SR in any year. Combined, these data suggest that when pasture mass is high, SR of up to 15 ewes per ha can be utilised but at lower pasture covers increasing SR will negatively affect ewe, but not lamb live weight. Farmers, therefore, need to consider carefully if they should utilise higher SR under these circumstances.

PR, Kenyon, RA Corner-Thomas, LM Cranston, and ST Morris

New Zealand Journal of Animal Science and Production, Volume 79, Palmerston North, 95-97, 2019
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