Sheep producers marketing under-finished lamb

Sheep producers are losing out financially by marketing too many under-finished lambs, according to feedback from abattoirs.

The difficult conditions last winter were continuing to impact on this year’s lamb crop, as they had such a poor start in life, said EBLEX selection specialist Steve Powdrill. “As a result, abattoirs are seeing a large number of lambs that haven’t finished well off grass, are achieving low killing out percentages, and failing to meet target specification.”

September data from GB auction markets showed a significant increase in lambs falling into the lower weight bands, said EBLEX senior analyst Paul Heyhoe. “The number of lambs in the light (25.5-32kg) weight band was 20% higher on the year, while superlight (17-25.4kg) numbers were 76% higher, suggesting that many of these lambs weren’t finished.”

This was having a detrimental effect on the trade, with average liveweight prices during September some 3p/kg below last year.

By failing to invest in supplementary feed to finish lambs better, producers were not able to achieve the best possible returns, he added.


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