Making More from Sheep Australian Wool Innovation Limited Meat & Livestock Australia
MODULE 12: Efficient Pastoral Production
Tool 12.9
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Primary farm business and sheep industry benchmarks:

A body condition score target of 3 is a useful target for sheep. The Lifetime Wool Project attributed a large number of benefits for ewe and lamb survival and wool production from achieving a body condition score of 3 at key times of the year.

It is important that condition scoring in sheep is undertaken each time that sheep are in the yards. A representative group from the main flock can be run through the race and condition scored with results going onto a recording sheet, or into the Lifetime Ewe Management app. This provides a visual picture of the spread of condition scores across the flock, as well as an average for the group assessed. This information can then be used to assist in grazing decision making.

Download the Lifetime Ewe Management (LTEM) app if you have an iPhone:

An android version is available from

As discussed in procedure 3 Efficient Pastoral Production, it is useful to consider linking a number of livestock operations together to generate labour efficiencies. Examples how this may occur are:

  • At marking or weaning time: Ewes can be assessed as being ‘wet’ or ‘dry’
  • At shearing time: Depending on where shearing sits in relation to the breeding program, steps can be taken to influence body condition score, such as putting the ewe flocks on better feed as body condition score is lower than ideal
  • At pregnancy scanning: Any ewes that are at lower than ideal body condition score can be managed separately to the main ewe flock, particularly if they are twin bearing ewes. Condition scoring at this time, can inform your management of the pregnant ewes.

The gap between actual body condition score and the ideal body condition score provides an indication of the weight gain required. For example, if a ewe has a body condition score of 2 at weaning, she will need to gain one body condition score (around 7.5kg) before mating. If the lambs are weaned at 90 days (3 months) there are 125 days for this weight gain to occur. This equates to a weight gain of 60 grams per day which is achievable on moderate quality feed.

Understanding the key concepts around condition scoring and incorporating this simple tool into your routine management can assist you with early intervention when seasonal conditions are not ideal. The information you gather can help you decide, for example to sell the mob that you have ear marked for first sale. An early identification of a trigger point can allow you to make informed decisions early.