Weight of lamb

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Overview of lamb finishing systems for early and mid season
lambing flock
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Overview of store lamb finishing systems
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Be aware of the range of feeding options for store lambs
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Be aware of the market requirements for finished lambs
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Intensive indoor finishing – concentrate fed
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Grass finished early or March born lambs – straight
off ewe or weaned
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Short keep store lambs
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Long keep store lambs
System selected depends on land and resources
available
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December/January born lambs/triplets or pet lambs
Males left entire
Weaned early and fed all concentrate diet
Slatted floors or well strawed lying area
Target premium market - April/May
Wean at 6 weeks if eating 400-500g/day
Lambs consume 50-60kg creep feed
Encourage lambs to creep early
Ad-lib water
Troughs off floor to prevent fouling - coccidiosis
Rock salt to prevent urinary stone
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Lambs born December/January
Ewes and lambs outside when sufficient grass
If grass limited ewes fed concentrates
Lambs creep fed from early age
Growth rates of 450g/day possible
Lambs finished pre-Easter/May
Select lambs carefully to hit target specifications
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Lambs finished straight off their mother – usually
singles and lambs born in first lambing cycle
Lambs should only be creep fed if grass supply is
limited
Good grass quality and grazing management vital
Lambs weaned at 12-16 weeks and moved onto silage
aftermaths (clean grazing/low worm burden)
On a typical lowland system March born lambs
should be finished by end September off grass
Desired daily growth rate of 250 + g/day
Pre grazing - Grass cover 2100
kg dry matter/ha
Post grazing - Grass cover 1600
kg dry matter /ha
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Creep feeding can compensate for poor grass supply/quality
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Creep feeding 300 grams/lamb/day
◦ Increases lamb performance
◦ Reduces age at slaughter by 28 days
◦ Increases price received for first draft of lambs
◦ Small effect on average carcase price for total flock
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For mid season lamb producing flocks - Increased lamb
performance does not cover cost of concentrates.
To improve financial margins focus on better
grassland management
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Depends on many factors
◦ Weight of lambs
◦ Length of time/feed required to finish
◦ Availability of grass or concentrates
◦ Market trends
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Grass supply can fall substantially
◦ Lambs face declining sward heights and lower quality
swards
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Releases grass for ewes at tupping
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Provides grass to go into winter with
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Can reduce need to feed ewes
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Take advantage of good store trade?
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Mop up surplus grass in summer/autumn/winter without
poaching the land
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Improves sward quality
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Sell into high market price
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Buy stores at a competitive market price
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What is a competitive price?
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Length of time to finish
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Make the most of resources available
◦ Grass
◦ Feed
◦ Forages
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Feed costs
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Have a plan
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Margins can be tight
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Know your market
Current NI lamb prices
Length
of keep
Weight
of lamb
(kg)
Weight
of lamb
(kg) half
weight
Typical
weight gain
per week
(Kg)
Length of
finishing
period
Finishing system
Short
36+
18+
0.9 – 1.1
6 weeks or
less
Good quality
grass or grass
and concentrate
Medium
30-35
15-17.5
0.6 – 0.8
6-10 weeks
Grass and
concentrate
Long
Below
30
Below
15
0.5 – 0.7
10 weeks+
Grass and
concentrate
Forage crops
Ad Lib/ indoor
finishing
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Select lambs free from Orf /scab
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Little or no feet problems/
lameness/joint-ill
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Avoid mixed groups of lambs
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Similar breed type and sex
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Keep entire ram lambs away from
ewe lambs
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Dose with ‘an effective wormer’
and house/yard for 12- 18 hrs
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Keep separate from own sheep
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Footbath and keep on clean
concrete for 1 hour
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Vaccinate with clostridial /
pasteurella vaccine
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Dip if necessary or apply pour
on depending on season.
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The better a lamb is fed the quicker it will grow,
depends on
◦ grass supply
◦ grass quality
◦ lamb growth potential
◦ geographic location,
◦ type of production system
◦ marketing options
◦ cost and availability of feed
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Ideal for lowland Dairy / beef farms
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Surplus grass on silage aftermaths or cattle grazing swards
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Lower worm challenge – clean grazing
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Grass quality will depend on management during the summer
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Keep a good grass supply going into fields of 7 cm (2200 kg
DM/ha and coming out of fields at 3cm (1600 kg DM/ha)
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Block graze fields - helps to avoid poaching /compaction
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Aim to finish lambs within 6 - 8 weeks
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Utilise 50% of the sward in all fields available – grazing tight
may restrict intakes and performance
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During favorable conditions can gain 1 kg/head/week
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Pastures with high clover content (10%) can increase lamb
growth rates by 50 g/day compared to grass alone
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Makes most sense when grass quality/quantity is low
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Help to stretch resource allows higher stocking rate
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Feed a high energy, low protein concentrate along with good
quality grass
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Concentrates can be fed at 0.25 – 1 kg per day in troughs,
level depends on
◦ Grass quality/quantity
◦ How quickly lambs need to be finished
◦ Lamb/conc. price
Where reasonable grass is available
feed 0.25 - 0.45kg above this level
feed will replace grass
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Troughs
◦ Where every lamb can feed at the same time
◦ Groups start eating and finish at the same time
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Hoppers
◦ Can be placed out in fields but are more suitable for feeding adlib concentrates than a restricted quantity
16% Protein
12.6 MJ/KG DM
10% Fibre
Barley
250
Maize
250
Maize gluten
100
Soya
125
Soya hulls
150
Citrus pulp
100
Mins + Vits
25
40 -50 kg per tonne of chopped straw can be added if the lambs are
fed ad lib.
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Silage quality is critical to ensure good intake and determine
concentrate intake
◦ Quality 68-70 D value
◦ 11.5 ME kg/DM
◦ 25-30% dry matter
Silage D value
Concentrates
required
Kg/Lamb/day
69+
0.30
67
0.37
65
0.40
Below 64
Not suitable
Don't feed poorly
fermented or
contaminated silage
to avoid listeriosis
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Expensive, useful to achieve necessary finish on lambs and
meet target market
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Viability depends on lamb and meal prices
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Can take up to 8kg meal to support 1kg of liveweight or
0.48kg of carcass (FCR 8:1)
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Lambs can get excessively fat especially ewe lambs
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Don’t exceed the payable carcase weight (21 or 22 kg)
Monitor performance on a regular basis
and check does it pay
Meal
Lamb
7 kg @ 200 per tonne =
£1.40
8 kg @ £200 per tonne =
£1.60
10 kg @ 200 per tonne =
£2.00
1kg of liveweight x 48 % kill
out = 0.48 kg carcase
Cost = 1.60
Return = 1.68
0.48 kg carcase @ £3.50 =
£1.68
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Build up gradually on meal
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Generally lambs are housed
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Ensure good supply of water
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Provide straw in the ration to ensure good rumen function
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Clipping / shearing pre housing may help performance – helps
in increase intakes
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NEVER use ewe minerals in lamb rations
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Up to 4 lambs per expanded metal
(mesh) slat 0.7 m2/lamb
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On restricted feeding allow 350-400
mm trough space per lamb
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On Ad lib feeding allow 125 mm
trough space per lamb
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Adequate air inlet and outlet – to
prevent sticky housing/damp
bedding
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Forage rape - can graze in 100 days after sowing.
◦ Sow April- Aug : Use June – Feb
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Tyfon – Can be grazed after 60 days a re-growth
after grazing
Kale- High yielding but may be better suited for
use as a forage crop for cattle
Requires a grass lie back
Strip graze
Effect of diet on kill out %
Grass fed
43%
Liveweight
Kill out %
Heavy meal feeding
50%
Expected carcase weight
50
21.50
25.00
43
18.49
21.5
Grass only fed lambs will have a lower kill out
percentage compared to concentrate fed lambs
Purchase price 18 + kg
Keep for 6 weeks
Variable costs
 Grass cost (50 p per week)
 Concentrates (30 days 0.45 kg per day)
 Vet and med
 Transport
 Market/fees
Total variable costs
Require £76 at time of sale ( 21kg @ £3.62/kg)
£65
£3.00
£3.00
£2.00
£1.00
£1.50
£10.50
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Weigh lambs regularly
a.
Assess flesh/fat cover by handling the lambs
Around the tail root or dock - The fatter the
lamb the wider the dock.
b.
Check the prominence of the backbone over
the loin.
c.
Over the ribs.
d.
The backbone over the shoulder.
e.
Along the breast bone
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Females will fatten at lower liveweight
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Don't allow lambs to go over weight or over fat
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Market requirements for lamb carcases can be
described in terms of the following 3 areas:
1. Carcase conformation
2. Carcase fat class
3. Carcase weight
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Finishing system depends on the resources you have
available
Grass is your cheapest feed and most valuable resource
Sell lambs as stores if keeping them on is likely to affect
performance of ewes
Purchase store lambs similar in size and free from disease
Plan what feed you have available and when lambs will
be at slaughter weight
Weigh lambs on a regular basis
Read the market trends
If intensive feeding check your costs
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