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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Sheep symposium: Biology and management of low-input lambing in easy-care systems

Authors
item Thonney, Micheal - CORNELL UNIVERSITY
item Martinez-Hernandez, Pedro - UNIVERSIDAD A CHAPINGO
item Taylor, Joshua
item Thomas, David - UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN

Submitted to: Journal of Animal Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: July 30, 2008
Publication Date: April 1, 2008
Repository URL: http://jas.fass.org/content/86/14_suppl/E244.full.pdf+html
Citation: Thonney, M.L., Martinez-Hernandez, P.A., Taylor, J.B., Thomas, D.L. 2008. Sheep symposium: Biology and management of low-input lambing in easy-care systems. Journal of Animal Science. 86:E244-E245.

Interpretive Summary: Low-input lambing management was the focus of the 2007 Sheep Symposium at the joint annual meetings of the American Society of Animal Science, the American Dairy Science Association, the Asociacio´n Mexicana de Produccio´n Animal, and the Poultry Science Association held in San Antonio, Texas, on July 8 to 12, 2007. The purpose of this symposium was to bring together biologists and managers who could provide insights about opportunities to practice low-intensity lambing management. In the mid and eastern United States (Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia) about 12.8 million ha have gone out of agricultural production during the past 30 yr (USDA, 2007). Much of this land is not suitable for cultivated crop production, but because of high annual precipitation, excellent forage production is possible to support large numbers of highly productive sheep. However, the number of sheep farms in the United States with more than 100 sheep decreased 16% and the number of sheep declined 25% from 1997 to 2002 (USDA, 2002). There are numerous reasons why farmers are reluctant to expand or develop sheep operations to exploit these resources. One major cause is the perception that sheep management, and lambing management in particular, is very labor intensive. During the symposium, scientific and applied evidence was presented that showed how animal behavior, genetics, nutrition, and management could be used to improve lamb survival with minimal shepherding inputs during and after lambing.

Technical Abstract: Low-input lambing management was the focus of the 2007 Sheep Symposium at the joint annual meetings of the American Society of Animal Science, the American Dairy Science Association, the Asociacio´n Mexicana de Produccio´n Animal, and the Poultry Science Association held in San Antonio, Texas, on July 8 to 12, 2007. The purpose of this symposium was to bring together biologists and managers who could provide insights about opportunities to practice low-intensity lambing management. In the mid and eastern United States (Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia) about 12.8 million ha have gone out of agricultural production during the past 30 yr (USDA, 2007). Much of this land is not suitable for cultivated crop production, but because of high annual precipitation, excellent forage production is possible to support large numbers of highly productive sheep. However, the number of sheep farms in the United States with more than 100 sheep decreased 16% and the number of sheep declined 25% from 1997 to 2002 (USDA, 2002). There are numerous reasons why farmers are reluctant to expand or develop sheep operations to exploit these resources. One major cause is the perception that sheep management, and lambing management in particular, is very labor intensive. During the symposium, scientific and applied evidence was presented that showed how animal behavior, genetics, nutrition, and management could be used to improve lamb survival with minimal shepherding inputs during and after lambing.

Last Modified: 8/22/2014
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