The policy on most New Zealand sheep farms is to pre-tup shear two tooths in late February/early March two to four weeks prior to mating. However, in summer-dry regions, where feed supplies are typically low in late summer, this practice may potentially depress two tooth performance because post-shearing increases in feed requirements cannot be met. An alternative hogget-four tooth shearing arrangement which does away with late summer/autumn two tooth shearing has therefore been investigated at Massey University's "Riverside" sheep farm in the Wairarapa; a farm prone to summer droughts. In trials over three years the alternative shearing arrangement was found not to disadvantage ewe liveweight gains, fertility, wool production or financial returns. In addition to reducing autumn feed requirements, earlier objective selection of flock replacements and hogget mating are potential benefits of the alternative shearing programme. A slightly poorer spring cashflow results but otherwise management requirements are similar.
Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 49, , 255-260, 1989
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