Track 1-09

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Reproduction is one of the key profit drivers in the sheep industry and increased reproductive output is needed to address the decline in sheep numbers in Australia to maintain supply to export markets (Curtis 2009). Increased nutrition around mating, or ‘flushing’, is a well-known means of increasing twinning rates. Studies using synchronisation methods have shown that short-term (acute) supplementation can increase prolificacy if targeted at days 9-14 of the oestrous cycle (Stewart and Oldham 1986). However, synchronisation involves increased chemical and labour costs, so may not suit extensive production systems. This study aimed to test whether an increase in twinning rate was possible using a short-term grazing of lucerne pasture in unsynchronised ewes.

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Does Targeted Short-Term Grazing of Lucerne Increase Twinning Rates in Unsynchronised Merino Ewes?

Reproduction is one of the key profit drivers in the sheep industry and increased reproductive output is needed to address the decline in sheep numbers in Australia to maintain supply to export markets (Curtis 2009). Increased nutrition around mating, or ‘flushing’, is a well-known means of increasing twinning rates. Studies using synchronisation methods have shown that short-term (acute) supplementation can increase prolificacy if targeted at days 9-14 of the oestrous cycle (Stewart and Oldham 1986). However, synchronisation involves increased chemical and labour costs, so may not suit extensive production systems. This study aimed to test whether an increase in twinning rate was possible using a short-term grazing of lucerne pasture in unsynchronised ewes.