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Stackyard News Jan 2013

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Boosting Lamb Survival and Vitality with Rumiblocks

Access to a new range of feedblocks from Harbro is helping to boost lamb survival and vitality in the 320-ewe flock of William O Gordon, Bindal, Portmahomack, Ross-shire.

James Gordon has found it more convenient at a busy time of year to give newly-lambed ewes access to Rumiblocks rather than feeding daily with a snacker.

James Gordon

Rumiblock Vitality feedblocks have been specially formulated using a technically advanced production system to provide a range of quality ingredients in a convenient, palatable form.

James Gordon has found it more convenient at a busy time of year to give newly-lambed ewes access to Rumiblocks rather than feeding daily with a snacker.

“Ewes tend to run to the snacker and when you have a large number of ewes in the field, it can lead to mismothering and we have lost the odd lamb as a result of under-nourishment,” says Mr Gordon.

“The beauty of the Rumiblock is that it gives you time to check the ewes and lambs while driving round and make sure everything is okay. Providing the feed in the form of a block on the ground also saves a lot of time compared with feeding with a snacker every day which is important at a time when we are busy with arable work on the farm.”

Mr Gordon also found a considerable saving in cost as the ewes balanced their own requirements according to the quality of the forage and used less of the blocks than he expected.

“It’s a good product and the ewes and lambs performed well on it,” he says.

Rumiblock Vitality contains a carefully formulated blend of wheat distillers’ dark grains fortified with key minerals, trace elements and vitamins to provide a palatable source of essential nutrients in a convenient block.

Vitality is designed to boost key nutrients in the late weeks of pregnancy and early lactation by promoting rumen activity and improving the vitality, thriftiness and survival of new-born lambs. Vitamin E, Selenium as Sel-Plex and omega 3 oils are included for newborn vitality, survival and immunity whilst high quality bypass proteins and mannans help improve the quality and quality of colostrum and milk. The cost works out as little as 4p/ewe/day.

Rumiblock has a simple, two-stage feeding programme, with Rumiblock Forage Booster designed for feeding mid winter. Forage Booster encourages improved forage digestibility and intake and helps ewes maintain condition. Rumiblock Vitality is designed for feeding in late pregnancy and lactation.

Around two-thirds of the flock were fed Rumiblock at this year’s lambing with the other third remaining on Harbro’s Clover Premium Ewe 18 compound feed based on Scottish quality raw materials formulated to ensure maximum digestibility and palatability.

The flock at Bindal comprises 100 North Country Cheviot ewes which are crossed with the Bluefaced Leicester to produce replacement ewe lambs for the 220-strong Mule ewe flock which is crossed with Texel tups and the lambs finished on the farm.

Adverse weather conditions at lambing time reduced the lambing percentage but the flock still achieved a commendable 175% lambs reared.

The farm, which trades as William O Gordon is run in partnership by brothers James and Douglas Gordon and James’s son Alan. The sheep flock complements a large-scale arable enterprise comprising 180 acres potatoes, 180 acres winter wheat, 150 acres oilseed rape and 315 acres spring barley.

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