Small groups hit target weight
EARLY season lambs at Elm Farm are encouraged to grow as fast as they can to its target 18kg-18.5kg carcass weight.
This target is met by penning lambs in small groups with ewes, with never more than 21 in a batch. This allows ewes to be offered a 21% protein mix of three parts barley to one part soya and hay ad-lib, encouraging them to milk well.
Lambs are offered an 18% protein creep compound from one week old. This concentrate has barley added to it after lambs are weaned at six weeks. The barley/soya mix increases to as high as 50:50, gradually reducing the concentrate cost to about £80/t, compared with £120/t for the creep compound.
Barley straw is also offered ad-lib from five weeks old. Derrick Daffurn says this acts as a filler and keeps lambs lean; about 95% of them grade at 3L for fatness or better. Straw also means lambs eat as much creep as they can, allowing them to fulfil their growth potential.
They also keep shed lights on at night so lambs eat all the time rather than bingeing during the day. *
Barley straw acts as a filler, keeping lambs lean, says Derrick Daffurn.