Dual blow to finished lamb numbers

By FW Staff

BAD weather plus poor prices caused finished lamb numbers to drop by 11% last week, while prices also fell by 3.5p. But producers are urged to keep finishing lambs.

Lesley Green, MLC sheep economist says there are more lambs on farm this year. “We expect future lamb price to be largely governed by quality, numbers and price of competing meats.”

Difficulties in finishing lambs are widespread, and mean creep feeding at grass is necessary, says Maurice Jones, Staffordshire-based Signet consultant. “Keep lambs going as price prospects dont look good. Avoid spending money keeping them longer than required by sorting lambs, taking out the heaviest 25% and grouping together for separate management.

“Depending on farm resources, a home-made creep ration, such as 50% oats or barley with 50% maize gluten, costs about £70/t and can be fed ad lib. Maize gluten reduces acidosis risk, while lambs introduced into the group will be trained to feed by the others,” he says.

“The bigger lambs will probably cost 70-80p to finish, eating 10kg creep. Its important lambs feel full, lie down and ruminate rather than eat low dry matter grass,” concludes Mr Jones.

  • For this and other stories, see Farmers Weekly, 25 September-1 October, 1998

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