How much soya is in your sheep feed?
The 2019 lambing season is just around the corner and the success of the lambing season hinges on a number of management factors with quality nutrition having a major role to play to ensure the ewe has plenty of milk at lambing time and they produce strong, healthy lambs.
Appropriate nutrition and management during late pregnancy are key to profitable mid-season lamb production as 75% of foetal growth occurs in the final 6-7 weeks before lambing.
The rapid growth of the foetus increases the ewe’s need for nutrients and daily requirements can no longer be met by a forage-based diet alone.
When feeding concentrates to ewes in late pregnancy, consider the following important factors:
- Watch ingredient specification closely – don’t skimp on cost;
- Ideally feed 17-18% crude protein;
- Use high-quality protein sources to enhance milk output on both grass and preserved forages. Soya bean meal is an excellent quality protein source;
- Feed a ewe nut with optimum levels of cereals (barley, wheat, maize) in order to maximise energy intakes;
- Ensure that the vitamins and mineral mix is suitable; e.g. calcium and magnesium (cal-mag) included reduces risk of milk fever and grass tetany post-lambing;
- Introduce concentrates at a low level and build up slowly.
As sheep farmers the most important question to ask your feed supplier is what level of soya is actually included in the ration or nut that you are feeding?
In a lot of cases the first question asked to feed suppliers is what is the cost per tonne which is certainly important, but nowhere near as important as the quality of ingredients fed to your sheep pre lambing.
In actual fact a difference in price of €20/t of feed has very little impact on the cost of feed/head during an eight week feeding period.
See the example below:
- A ewe will eat an average of 0.4kg/day for an eight week (56 days) period.
- Multiply 0.4kg x 56 = 22.4kg total feed per ewe.
- Multiply by price difference per tonne – €20.
- €20 x 0.0224 = €0.45 per ewe extra during an eight week period.
- It is a minimal cost to ensure strong, healthy lambs at lambing and a ewe with plenty of milk for those lambs.
As mentioned above it is extremely important to know the soya and cereal content included in your sheep ration or nuts; as this will have a huge bearing on the success of the lambing season on your farm.
Quinns of Baltinglass Ltd installed a new state-of-the-art pelleting plant in late 2017 and has also recently made significant upgrades to its coarse plant on its Baltinglass site.
For the coming lambing season the company nutritionist has formulated their sheep pellets and coarse rations to the highest possible spec with market leading inclusions of both soya bean meal and cereals.
Quinns sheep compounds contain a minimum inclusion of 15% soya bean meal and high levels of cereals as shown above.
It is very important to feed a higher protein ration/pellet to ewes with a lambing percentage of 1.8 or higher. Please see the table below for feeding recommendations for ewes carrying twins:
If you have a lambing percentage higher than 1.8 consider feeding the Supreme 20% ration or pellet during the eight week feeding period.
Quinns supreme range of sheep compounds also includes an added high spec mineral package; Rumi Sheep. The Rumi Sheep mineral package contains high levels of vitamin E and protected selenium which are extremely important during this period.
Benefits of vitamin E and Selenium – included in Quinns Rumi Sheep Mineral:
- It helps reduce retained placentas;
- It ensures good muscle tone at lambing and lambs suckle earlier;
- It Improves colostrum quality to ensure strong lambs with a strong immunity and therefore lamb vigour and survival increases;
- It plays a preventative role against mastitis;
- Also there is a high level of iodine in the Rumi Sheep mineral with 10mg included.
Quinn’s sheep coarse rations and pellets are formulated to the highest possible spec. They include high levels of Irish cereals but also include market leading inclusions of Soya bean meal, which is crucial for milk production.
Quinns sheep compounds are available in all Quinn’s branches in 25kg bags, half-tonne bags and also bulk collected or delivered.