Data from 1,301 ewes lambing in 2009 were analysed to investigate the association of body condition score (BCS) with total lamb weaned (TLW). BCS was assessed on a scale of 0-5 at mating (BCSM), scanning (BCSS), pre-lambing (BCSL) and weaning (BCSW) and categorized as <3, 3-3.5 and >3.5. Ewe age, flock, live weight at mating (LWM) and date of lambing (DOB) had significant effects on TLW (P <0.05). Ewes having triplets at birth with >3.5 and 3-3.5 BCSM had a higher TLW (63.2, 63.0 kg respectively; P<0.05) than ewes with triplets at birth and <3 BCSM (56.1 kg). Ewes with 3-3.5 BCSS had higher TLW than ewes with >3.5 BCSS for all birth ranks (49.8 kg, 47.2 kg respectively, P <0.05). There was no association between BCSL and TLW. Ewes with <3 or 3-3.5 BCSW had a significantly higher TLW than ewes with >3.5 BCSW (>3.5 = 43.8 kg, 3-3.5 = 48.9 kg, <3 = 50.9 kg; P <0.001). This study indicates ewes with 3-3.5 BCSS or <3 or 3-3.5 BCSW outperform ewes with >3.5 BCSS or >3.5 BCSW.
Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 71, Invercargill, 62-65, 2011
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