New vaccine helps boost lamb numbers

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ewe fecundity

With strong lamb prices and promising weather conditions, now is an ideal time for farmers to begin rebuilding stock numbers. To help with this, animal health company Virbac Australia has produced a fecundity vaccine.

“The vaccine directly influences a ewe’s fecundity, increasing the amount of eggs available for fertilisation by immunising the animal against the hormone androstenedione, which alters ovarian function,” Virbac Australia’s technical services manager Dr George Cox said.

“That in turn leads to an increase in the number of twin births, which is by far the single most important factor in boosting lamb numbers.” 

Because Ovastim does not affect seasonality, but only the ovulation rate of animals already cycling, normal practices (such as the use of teasers for out-of-season breeding) still apply. 

Yet because the product works on natural principles, and doesn’t adversely affect lamb survival rate or growth, it is being promoted as of the best tools to create higher lamb marking percentages and boost profits. 

NSW sheep producer Anthony Hoolihan has been using Ovastim within his herd of 3000 breeder ewes since late 2018 and says he has since produced more lambs than ever. 

“Usually during our June lambing we would get a 110 per cent lambing rate,” Hoolihan said. 

“But with Ovastim, combined with a continued focus on ewe management and good predator control, we’ve managed to increase that percentage to 155 per cent, which is a fantastic result.”

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