Along with sheep scanning, mineral supplementation of ewes post-breeding is the most popular option selected among in excess of 18,000 farmers participating in the Sheep Welfare Scheme (SWS).

Under the measure, ewes must have received or have access to mineral supplementation which covers the period of 60 days post-breeding.

The start of the post-breeding period is taken as the first day ewes are joined with rams.

Supplementation can take the form of drenching ewes with an appropriate mineral, administering boluses, offering mineral licks or feeding concentrates with the desired mineral content.

A combination of products can also be used, as long as there is no break in the period of cover and it covers the 60-day period satisfactorily.

Suitable for ewes

The Department of Agriculture advises that the label of the product used must clearly state that the product is suitable for ewes. It must also specify a duration of cover for ewes – for example “this product is effective for X days or X weeks”, etc.

The product must also specify a dose rate and in the case of boluses for example, it might be “one bolus per ewe" or for mineral buckets, the label may read “one bucket per 30 ewes will last for 15 days”.

In relation to purchasing mineral supplements, once the manufacturer of the product, the wholesaler or retailer are registered with the Department as a food business operator, the product will be considered eligible for the purposes of the SWS.

It is important to ensure that dates on invoices related to the purchase of products must coincide with breeding dates recorded in the scheme action booklet. Where there is a split breeding season in place, a number of breeding groups can be recorded.