31 August 2001

SELLSOONER &REAPREWARD?

SELLING lambs off grass as quickly as possible could pay should prices fall as winter progresses, according to SAC sheep specialist John Vipond.

"Selling Mule lambs at 15kg, rather than 19kg could be better than accepting a lower price for them later, after they have eaten valuable grass," he says.

"It will also reduce overall lamb output by about 25%, a useful reduction in potentially oversupplied markets."

Where grass growth requires a boost, it could still be worth applying fertiliser, says Dr Vipond. "Grass growth responds less well to autumn than spring fertiliser, but in warmer autumns, fertiliser will boost growth. Ammonium nitrate applications of about 1cwt/acre can be beneficial."

Aim for a grass height of 6cm (2.5in) and avoid aftermaths where grass is bending over. "Grass use is less efficient where it is too tall."n