Pasture + Forage=
Successful Sheep Production
Throughout the world, the common denominator in sheep production is pasture and forage. Any good shepherd will tell you that productivity and quality of the pasture, rangeland, and forage crop greatly influence their sheep production.
That makes good sense and Sun Roads Farmory understands this matter very well. We have a solution to your herd's needs at a price that will make you smile.
Supplying energy and nutrients to meet your sheep's needs is the largest cost associated with producing sheep - no matter if you're raising them for their wool, meat, or milk. Please accept our invitation to show you just how we can help your operation today!
A Healthy Herd
Let's be honest- making sure your animals are receiving the proper amount of each nutrient needed can make your head spin. Sheep can be a little complicated. Their need for energy is affected by many factors.
Weather is one of those important factors to be considered in the amount of nutritional energy your sheep require. It is the most critical nutrient that is required in extreme weather conditions. Here in Montana, we understand weather challenges! As much as 40% additional energy above maintenance may be needed to maintain body temperature when the outside temperatures begin to drop. High quality forage is the preferred nutrient source, since it has a higher heat increment than grain and is easier to feed on snow-covered ground. If winter or early spring lambing is practiced, ewes will also have higher late gestational nutrient requirements. Attempts to accommodate their requirements under these conditions by suddenly providing extra concentrates like grain can cause acidosis, pregnancy toxemia, abortion, or all of the above.
High temperatures along with high humidity also increase nutritional energy requirements. With each 1-degree increase in body temperatures above normal, the metabolic rate increases about four percent.
Another important factor to be considered when evaluating your herd's nutritional requirements is the land they travel across for feed. The distance they travel as well as the land topography should be considered. Although the nutrient requirements take into account normal exercise of grazing sheep, additional running, climbing, fear, or excitement may increase energy requirements because of increased bodily heat production and its need for dissipation.
Amount of exercise is directly related to forage availability. As forage availability decreases, exercise obviously increases, as do nutritional energy requirements.
Possibly the most critical factor that must be considered when assessing the nutritional needs of your herd pertains to your ewes. As you know, their nutritional needs change considerably from phase to phase throughout gestation. 5% of all ewes fail to lamb each year. 15-20% of all lambs born die between birth and weaning. As those numbers rise, your production profit drops. Faulty nutrition is a major factor in the low percentage of live, healthy lambs born per herd each season.
5% of all ewes fail to lamb each year
15-20% of all lambs born die between birth and weaning
Flushing ewes 30d -2 weeks before breeding and 2-3 weeks into the breeding season has shown to increase the lambing rate by as much as 30%! This is a very easy and healthy process with barley grass mats!
Barley Grass has 13.7% protein when harvested on day 6.
Replacing grain with freshly grown, highly nutritious barley grass for your breeding ewes will save you over $800 in just 104 days!
Creep feeding is a means of supplying extra nutrition to nursing lambs. It is more efficient to feed the lamb directly than to feed the ewes more for milk production.
Lambs' rumens are not fully functioning until they are about 2 months old. However, they can be started on creep feed between 1 and 2 weeks of age, though they will not eat significant amounts of feed until they are three to four weeks old. Providing early access to creep feed gets lambs in the habit of eating forage and helps stimulate development of their rumens. It helps with early weaning.
Barley grass grown in your Sun Roads Farmory AFS is an excellent creep feed source. Ideally, creep ration should contain 18 to 20 percent crude protein. Barley grass is far closer to that number than grain and is not toxic to the lambs' rumens like grain. The sooner the rumen begins to function, the faster the lambs begin to gain weight, and the faster they can go to market. Our customers report that the lambs take to it easily and love it!
Sun Roads Farmory can help!
The barley grass you will grow in your own Alternative Feed System (AFS) from Sun Roads Farmory will not only meet all the nutrient requirements of your herd, but it is also so versatile that you can increase or decrease the amount needed each day very simply. Let's take a look at that more specifically!
Nutritional energy is the major driver of your herd's performance. Sheep get their energy from the food they eat. If sheep are not getting enough energy there will be a decrease in wool, meat, and milk production and reproduction, and an increase in mortality and disease. In simple terms, your wallet is going to take a direct hit!
When dietary protein levels become low, sheep cannot maintain weight and they start to mobilize body tissues to make up the shortfall in protein. Low levels of protein reduce weaner growth rates, conception, pregnancy and lactation in breeding ewes, and productivity in general.
Barley grass grown in your own AFS has 13.7% protein when harvested at day 6. For comparison, barley grain has 11.7%. Sheep are ruminants and they were not meant to consume grain. We have provided that information on our . Because sheep were not made to consume grain, doing so decreases their health so dramatically that mortality rates climb in a very short time period.
Not only will your AFS produce grass very high in nutrients and energy, but it produces a consistent feed daily. Weather and seasonal growing periods do not affect your growing cycle. Land availability and condition do not need to be considered. Each day, you will produce fresh, green, highly nutritious food for your herd! (and they will love it!)
Another amazing benefit of feeding your sheep freshly grown barley grass is water! Water is one of the most important daily requirements of sheep. They need between 2/3 gallon up to 4 gallons per day depending on the weather and gestational phase. Sheep generally consume 2-3 times the amount of water to dry feed. Barley grass grown in your own AFS provides up to half of their daily water requirement. This also decreases the amount of energy they may need to expend travelling to a water source, thereby decreasing their energy requirements. Two birds...One healthy grass mat!
The Bottom Dollar
Let's take a look at a simple example to see the financial side of this deal!
Our AFS 50 has the maximum ability to feed 72 ewe and lamb pairs daily. The cost for feeding those 72 pairs is $12.08 per day. ( about $0.17 per ewe) Each ewe in this example will receive barley grass at 2.5% of their body weight, which equals 3.5 pounds. The average weight of the ewes in our example will be 140#.
(Sun Roads Farmory also recommends that your ewes have access to dry hay or pasture as well as barley grass.)
For this example, we will look at two high nutrient requiring phases of a ewe's life- the flushing phase and the lactating phase:
Flushing: 30 days before breeding plus 14 days into the breeding season, it is recommended that each ewe receive 1/2-1# of grain daily. We will use 1# for this example just to keep it simple.
Lactating: It is recommended that lactating ewes are fed 1# of grain per day per lamb nursing for the first 60 days after lambing. For our example, each ewe will have only one lamb.
So, we will be looking at a total of 104 days. The national average for barley grain is $0.28 per pound. If you are feeding your 72 ewes grain, this is your example.
**Please note, this does not include the vet bill for sick, acidotic animals, nor does it include the loss due to high-mortality-birth rates.
$0.28 x 72 ewes = $20.16 per day $20.16 x 104 days = $2096.64
If you were feeding those same 72 ewes barley grass grown in your own AFS 50, this would be your example:
$0.17 x 72 ewes = $12.24 per day $12.24 x 104 days = $1272.96
That is a savings of $823.68 just for 104 days!
That is a very simple example, however it demonstrates a great savings. When you stop feeding your animals grain, their health will increase dramatically. If you're raising sheep for their wool, you will notice a higher quality, more consistent fiber in no time at all. Both of these facts not only mean your herd is healthier, but your profit is increasing all the while!