Discussion group members were interested in looking into trace element by blood testing a sample of their flock. This was done in conjunction with local vets and members used their discussion group ‘incentives’ to fund the blood sampling.

Blood samples were taken before the ewes were turned to the ram. Results were analysed by the local vet to identify both trace element deficiencies and satisfactory levels of others.

A discussion group meeting with local vet was held to compare and discuss the effects of trace element deficiencies within the flocks, and how this could have an impact on ewe performance. An interesting discovery was made in that group members with North facing land had ewes showing a high level of Cobalt. All flocks were low on Iodine. Group members aimed to address the trace element imbalances within their flocks, hoping that it would have a beneficial effect on their lambing percentages and lambing rates.

At the following group meeting, the local vet visited again to discuss preparation for lambing and the group benchmarked their scanning percentages. Their vet warned of the overuse of antibiotics and the need to be mindful in administering medicines to the flock. Group members agreed to record their antibiotic use from 01/02/2017 to 01/05/2017 and to share their results with the group at the next meeting.

Group member quote:

“The blood testing we undertook within the group has led me to give more consideration towards correcting the trace element deficiencies within my own flock. I’m hoping this will have a beneficial effect on my flock performance. I will also be more mindful of administering medicines and consider whether there is a real need for it rather than administering out of habit.” 

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