16 January 1998

Watch your mouth

SHEEP producers are urged to inspect the mouths of all sheep going to market, and group those with permanent incisor teeth separately from those without to minimise the impact of new specified risk material (SRM) regulations.

According to MLC economist Duncan Sinclair, only a small proportion of lambs are currently affected by the regulations, which came onto force on Jan 1, but the proportion with permanent incisors will increase .

"Buyers are likely to want to purchase groups of sheep according to whether they will be able to export the entire carcass, or will have to remove risk material such as the spinal cord."

Mr Sinclair advises producers to check lamb dentition, and to group them for sale accordingly. "It is probable that animals with teeth, which will require removal of SRMs, will trade at a discount."