Spring lambing percentages expected to dip

Spring lamb numbers are expected to be down around the region.

North Canterbury scanning contractor Daniel Wheeler said scanning results had been mixed around the region and the season’s drought had taken its toll.

The Amberley-based contractor pregnancy scanned ewes in the North Canterbury and Ellesmere areas.

He estimated scanning percentages were down about 10 to 20%.

‘‘The results are quite mixed. Ewe condition is pretty good, as farmers have been feeding out for a while and good lamb prices are keeping farmers optimistic,’’ Mr Wheeler said.

‘‘Overall, I would say lambing percentages are down 10% to 20%. Some are down more than that and some have seen little change.’’

Federated Farmers North Canterbury meat and wool vice-chairman Stu Fraser said most farmers had reasonable scanning results, given the dry summer.

‘‘We’ve had the same dry rate but less triplets, which is a good thing when there’s a feed shortage. Triplets can take a lot of extra work for very little return, but twins are perfect.’’

While the Hurunui River flooded for the second time, in recent rain, following the May 31 flood event, his farm had come through with only minor damage.

With plenty of sunshine over the last two months, soil temperatures had remained at 9.5 to 10degC, allowing for some winter grass growth and providing some welcome relief after the drought.

Lambing was due to get under way and Mr Fraser was feeling cautiously optimistic about the season ahead.

‘‘It’s early days yet, but things are looking promising. Everything else is ticking along and it’s looking good for beef and sheep,’’ he said.

‘‘We are reliant on the weather, but as long as we get some grass growth to replenish our winter feed we will be fine.’’

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