19 June 1998

Staying ahead for top lamb tickets

KEEPING on top of grazing and routine management will help producers ensure lambs finish before prices drop.

The MLC forecasts that current prices of about 130p/kg will continue, but warns that more lambs will be forwarded in the next few weeks.

But independent sheep consultant Lesley Stubbings believes many producers grazing management is doing little to help lambs finish while prices are high.

ADASsheep specialist Alison Lockwood agrees. She advises keeping swards between 4-6cm (1.75- 2.5in) to achieve optimum growth rates of 5250g a day.

Ms Stubbings warns those producers feeding creep to continue to do so if target finishing dates are to be met.

Keeping on top of routine tasks such as worming and treating lameness will also help lambs achieve optimum growth, particularly in poor weather, she adds.

"Drench every 21 days if that is what the treatment recommends to control worms. Lameness which is an increasing concern, so a regular bathing for two minutes as a minimum in a zinc sulphate solution will help," she adds.

Once finished, lambs must be forwarded without delay if the best prices are to be had, advises Cotswold-based sheep consultant Alistair Bird.

"There is no justification holding on to a lamb worth £45 in the market for early season market if it will only be worth £50 for the late season trade from October onwards – it is simply tying up working capital," he says.