Rain makes it harder for ewes to get enough nutrients from waterlogged pastures which makes it a challenge for farmers to ensure their flocks eat more to meet their dry matter needs from diluted grass quality.

Bad weather impacts ewe feeding patterns; they graze less, waste more and face increased risk from parasites. However, well-conditioned ewes past the critical 'golden 20 days' either side of tup introduction don't need more than their maintenance requirements.

For example, a 70kg ewe typically needs just 0.8kg of grass dry matter per day (assuming grass is 10.5 megajoules of metabolisable energy per kg dry matter) after tupping, which translates to:

• 8kg of fresh grass at 10% dry matter content

• 5.3kg at 15% dry matter or

• 4kg at 20% dry matter (grass is very unlikely to be as high as 20% dry matter at this time of year)

Eight kg in one day is within the capability of the ewe’s rumen therefore manage the grazing to ensure the grass supply is there. If less than 5cm of grass is available, consider supplementing them to ensure they don’t lose condition.

To gain half a condition score over 100 days however, a 70kg ewe requires 1.13kg of dry matter or:

• 11.3kg of fresh grass at 10% dry matter

• 7.5kg at 15% dry matter or

• 5.5kg at 20% dry matter

Grass amounts of 11.3kg per day starts to become a bit more challenging and therefore it would be beneficial to provide additional feed if hoping to gain condition by scanning time.

Greater wastage in wet weather is inevitable, however, rotational grazing will still result in greater utilisation than set stocking, therefore it is worth considering.

Moving more frequently will give stock easier access to fresh feed, which they will consume more efficiently, and then rest. There is always poaching risk when grazing in wet conditions but under rotational grazing, there is more control of where the damage will occur and more control of the pasture recovery period.

Despite the challenges of wet weather, careful management ensures sheep maintain their health and productivity and pastures are utilised well with recovery management time considered.