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National Lambing Density Project

Producer network


Improving marking rate is an important driver of profitability for sheep enterprises. A survey of sheep producers in Victoria showed that for each additional 100 twin-bearing ewes in the mob at lambing, lamb survival decreased by 3.5%. Lamb survival also decreased by 0.7% for each additional ewe per hectare. The existing guidelines of 100 to 250 twin-bearing adult ewes per mob at lambing could therefore represent a range in marking rate for twin-bearing mobs of at least 10%. This national project, supported by Australian Wool Innovation and Meat & Livestock Australia, will investigate the effects of mob size and stocking rate on the survival of twin-born lambs between birth and marking. The research will occur at a total of 70 sites across Western Australia, South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales over 2 years.

Figure. The effect of increasing the mob size of
twin-bearing ewes at a stocking rate of 8 ewes/ha
on lamb survival (Lockwood et al unpublished)

Producer network

This project will also engage producers who pregnancy scan their ewes for multiples to collect data on their own farm during 2017. Data required for individual lambing paddocks will include;

  • Paddock size and shelter
  • Number of ewes in mob and their pregnancy status
  • Average ewe condition score at lambing (if known)
  • FOO at lambing (if known)
  • Number of lambs marked

The data collected will help us to understand the impact of lambing density on lamb survival across a range of management and environmental conditions.

Feedback to producers
Upon completion of the project, participants will be provided with a summary report including their data and any regional and national findings. 

To assist in data accumulation, producers are encouraged to download and complete the data form available here. Completed forms can then be provided via email to:

Dr Serina Hancock
Research Officer
School of Veterinary and Life Sciences
Murdoch University

By sending your completed form to Murdoch University, you agree that the information you provide may be used by Murdoch University to carry out the project, and may be anonymised and aggregated and then published or provided to the supporters of this project (including AWI, MLA and NSW DPI). This consent is irrevocable, perpetual and royalty-free. Any personal information you provide will be held in accordance with Murdoch University’s privacy policy who may, in the course of the project, provide this information to the above named supporters of this project.