Production in 210 mature Corriedale ewes first mated between 7 and 11 or at 18 months of age was studied at Paysandu, Uruguay. Ewes were classified into one of the following five classes according to their oestrous and lambing performance in 1968: (1) reared a lamb; (2) lambed but lamb died; (3) mated but did not lamb; (4) oestrus detected by vasectomized ram, true mating deferred for 12 months; and (4) no oestrus, mating deferred for 12 months. Records on flock performance and mortality were kept from all ewes from 1969 to 1973, when the dental status of all ewes present was assessed.
There were no significant differences between classes in number of ewes lambing per ewe exposed to the ram, number of lambs born per ewe exposed to the ram, number of lambs weaned per ewe exposed to the ram, weight of lamb weaned per ewe exposed to the ram, and pre-mating body weight.
Greasy fleece weight varied significantly (P < 0·01) with class of ewe. The least squares means for ewe classes 1 to 5 were 3·93, 3·99, 4·06,4·12 and 3·92 kg respectively. Class 4 ewes differed significantly (P < 0·01) from class 1 ewes and from class, 3 and 5 ewes (P < 0·05). Class 3 ewes differed significantly (P < 0·05) from class 1 ewes. Other differences were not significant.
Ewe mortality between 1969 and 1973 was independent of class of ewe. The dental status of ewes appeared to vary with class of ewe. Early mating of Corriedale ewes apparently had no adverse effects on mature reproductive performance, but somewhat reduced wool production. If mating is to take place for the first time at 18 months of age, ewes that have shown oestrus previously are likely to exhibit greater overall productivity (wool plus lambs).