14 November 1997

Hanging on can lead to overfat lambs – warning

By FWlivestock reporters

SHEEP producers should manage finishing with care to avoid producing over-fat lambs.

"Farms are carrying more lambs than normal, and producers are exacerbating their difficulties by delaying sales to get higher prices," claims Gwyn Howells, Welsh-based Signet consultant.

By putting off marketing, many lambs have become too fat.

Procurement controller for St Merryn Meats, Julian Smith, reports that a quarter of lambs currently on offer are overfat and will be penalised.

"Producers must manage finishing to avoid producing overfat, heavy lambs which are not in demand," says Mr Smith.

Better quality lambs were attracting an extra £10/lamb last week, says ADAS sheep specialist Lesley Stubbings. "Theres no doubt that at the moment while the market is weak, quality is paying.

"If you still have lambs on the farm, get busy. Go through them to find out how far away they are. Then start thinking about extra feeding – dont hang on to them."

Lambs at grass and close to finishing will need supplementing, for example, with whole cereals. Those further off will require minerals as well – or a complete finisher, says Ms Stubbings.

"When inside, lambs will only finish on very good quality silage – at least 68 D, she says. "If silage is mediocre-to-low quality, consider a concentrate-only regime."

Mr Howells says there is a risk of producers deciding too late to supplement the falling nutritive value of herbage.

"From now ewes must have priority for available grazing, and lambs will start to lose condition without supplementary feeds. As silage quality is not good on many farms, delaying the introduction of dry feed will increase costs."

Should it be necessary to house lambs there would be a two week growth check while they acclimatise to the building and feed.

Feeding around 0.45kg/head/ day of a high energy ration in troughs at pasture now could restore control of finishing and ensure lambs are marketed when a producer wants, he says.

SACs John Vipond suggests bringing over-fat lambs inside onto hay based diets for a week. This will allow them to clean up and slim them down a bit to just outside the penalty bracket."

John Russell, ADAS Northumberland agrees that lambs finished indoors on silage may need supplementing this year to compensate for poorer quality material. "Although silage is plentiful, some is very wet and intakes will be reduced. Analyse it and supplement accordingly," he says.

GET BUSY FINISHING

&#8226 Avoid overfat lambs

&#8226 Consider supplements

&#8226 Dont hang onto lambs

By FWlivestock reporters

SHEEP producers should manage finishing with care to avoid producing over-fat lambs.

"Farms are carrying more lambs than normal, and producers are exacerbating their difficulties by delaying sales to get higher prices," claims Gwyn Howells, Welsh-based Signet consultant.

By putting off marketing, many lambs have become too fat.

Procurement controller for St Merryn Meats, Julian Smith, reports that a quarter of lambs currently on offer are overfat and will be penalised.

"Producers must manage finishing to avoid producing overfat, heavy lambs which are not in demand," says Mr Smith.

Better quality lambs were attracting an extra £10/lamb last week, says ADAS sheep specialist Lesley Stubbings. "Theres no doubt that at the moment while the market is weak, quality is paying.

"If you still have lambs on the farm, get busy. Go through them to find out how far away they are. Then start thinking about extra feeding – dont hang on to them."

Lambs at grass and close to finishing will need supplementing, for example, with whole cereals. Those further off will require minerals as well – or a complete finisher, says Ms Stubbings.

"When inside, lambs will only finish on very good quality silage – at least 68 D, she says. "If silage is mediocre-to-low quality, consider a concentrate-only regime."

Mr Howells says there is a risk of producers deciding too late to supplement the falling nutritive value of herbage.

"From now ewes must have priority for available grazing, and lambs will start to lose condition without supplementary feeds. As silage quality is not good on many farms, delaying the introduction of dry feed will increase costs."

Should it be necessary to house lambs there would be a two week growth check while they acclimatise to the building and feed.

Feeding around 0.45kg/head/ day of a high energy ration in troughs at pasture now could restore control of finishing and ensure lambs are marketed when a producer wants, he says.

SACs John Vipond suggests bringing over-fat lambs inside onto hay based diets for a week. This will allow them to clean up and slim them down a bit to just outside the penalty bracket."

John Russell, ADAS Northumberland agrees that lambs finished indoors on silage may need supplementing this year to compensate for poorer quality material. "Although silage is plentiful, some is very wet and intakes will be reduced. Analyse it and supplement accordingly," he says.

GET BUSY FINISHING

&#8226 Avoid overfat lambs

&#8226 Consider supplements

&#8226 Dont hang onto lambs

GET BUSY FINISHING

&#8226 Avoid overfat lambs

&#8226 Consider supplements

&#8226 Dont hang onto lambs