Increasing lambing percentages has the potential to increase profitability on sheep farms by improving individual ewe efficiency (kg of lambs weaned per ewe). In combination with farm system change, it also has the potential to reduce environmental emissions intensity by reducing capital stock numbers and utilising pasture to feed young livestock.

Lamb survival plays a key role in achieving these outcomes and is also an important animal welfare indicator.

This research has included investigating factors contributing to lamb survival such as nutrition and physiology, behaviour and welfare, infectious diseases and animal husbandry and management. Research at all four institutions have contributed to both fundamental and applied research to deliver practical outcomes to support sheep farmers to improve lamb survival and ewe reproductive efficiency.

As part of a new collaboration between AgResearch and SRUC/UoE, a joint PhD programme has been established in which Cathrine Erichsen is investigating lamb survival in larger litters.

As part of this research programme, Cathrine is conducting a survey to investigate management practices of triplet lambs in Ireland, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. The survey will contribute to an ongoing program of research focused on improving lamb survival, ewe efficiency and eco-efficiency of sheep production.

The researchers are seeking participation from all sheep farmers (both meat and dairy sheep) across NZ to take part in the survey. The survey can be accessed via the following link and can be completed online: http://edin.ac/triplet-lambs