Grass growth rates have been boosted on all farms by recent rainfall, followed by a sharp jump in temperatures.

This has taken the pressure off farms which were particularly tight for grass and allowed them to resume normal management practices.

Ensuring ewes are at the desired body condition score (BCS 3.25 to 3.5+ for lowland ewes and BCS 3 for hill ewes) and are adequately fed will have a marked effect on breeding performance.

Ideally, at this stage of the year, ewes should be run in two batches - a group receiving preferential access to top-quality grass to address any shortfall in body condition and a group receiving maintenance feeding.

Handled regularly

It is important that ewes are handled regularly to ensure ewes are still on target and to check if there are any ewes that need to be switched between groups.

On some farms, running two such groups is not straightforward due to a focus on limiting the number of grazing groups.

It is commonplace on such farms to run the group of ewes receiving preferential treatment with ewe lambs or batches of ewe and wether lambs.

Strategic grazing

While the focus in most flocks is on building autumn grass supplies, attention also needs to be placed on grassland management for next spring.

Swards should be grazed in the coming weeks in a manner that will allow the final grazing to take place and provide a rest period of 100 to 120 days to when it will be required for grazing next spring.

Consideration should be given on optimising shelter post-lambing while also targeting fields which will respond best to early nitrogen and achieve the best growth rates.