MARKET GRAIN THROUGH LAMBS
MARKET GRAIN THROUGH LAMBS
What are the main advantages of feedlot finishing?
· By weaning lambs early and finishing them in a feedlot, more ewes can be kept.
· The dressing percentage increases – for each 1 % that the dressing percentage increases, ± R16 more profit is generated (prices as at 16/03/10).
· By marketing some of the grain through the lambs, a higher grain price (up to R3 000/ton or even higher) is realised.
What is the main profit driver in a feedlot?
· The feed conversion ratio (kg feed intake per kg weight gain) is considered as the benchmark of profitability in a feedlot (Lundeen, 2004) – a ratio smaller than 4.0:1 is considered as excellent.
· The most profitable lamb is the one that grows fast and can be quickly marketed because the fastest growing lamb is the most effective converter of feed to meat (Anderson, 2005).
· Feed conversion is more effective, the younger the lamb is; the less roughage and the more energy and bypass protein the feedlot ration contains and the higher the voluntary intake is; with the use of medicaments and an ear implant; as the level of feedlot management improves; etc.
What type of feedlot lamb will generate the most profit?
· A young (< 3 months old) well grown lamb weighing at least 25 to 28 kg – feed conversion ratio of a three month old lamb is ± 4.2:1 as opposed to the 7:6 to 8:1 of an eight month old lamb (Vosloo, 1982).
· A meat wool type male lamb.
· A cross-bred lamb.
· A lamb that received a creep feed.
· A healthy lamb.
· Sell the weakest third of the lambs at weaning and finish the rest in a feedlot – a weak lamb cannot be ‘cured’ with feed!
What feedlot ration gives the best biological and economical response?
· A high quality, proper balanced feedlot ration with a high bypass protein and energy content; low roughage content; a feed that contains the necessary buffers, growth stimulants, ammonium salts, trace elements and vitamins, with no low quality by-products – a ration that meets all these requirements is: 125 kg milled lucerne hay (25 mm sieve) + 550 kg maize meal + 200 kg Voermol SS 200 + 100 kg Voermol Procon + 40 kg Voermol Molasses meal.
· A high inclusion of bypass protein (e.g. 5 % to 10 % Voermol Procon) improves the feed conversion ratio and stimulates muscle growth which again increases the dressing percentage (Beerman et al., 1986).
What adaptation procedure is the best?
· Begin on Day 1 with 100 g/lamb of the feedlot ration and increase it by 100 g/lamb daily until ad lib. feeding level (± 4.0 % – 4.5 % of body weight) is reached.
· Feed every day’s allotted amount of ration in two equal portions – half in the morning and the other half in the late afternoon. After the adaptation period (first 10 days) the daily amount has to be fed three to five or even more times per day to ensure high voluntary feed intake.
· Feed additional roughage (preferably unmilled lucerne hay) ad lib. on the side for the first 10 days.
· There should be sufficient feeding space (± 25 – 30 cm/lamb) so that all lambs can eat simultaneously.
Tips for success in a feedlot
· At intake, divide lambs according to mass, size, condition, breed, and gender – ideal flock size is 25 to 50 lambs, with a maximum of 100 lambs per pen; allow 5 to 8 m2 floor area/lamb.
· At intake, lambs should be vaccinated with, or administered, an effective broad-spectrum worm remedy; a multi-clostridial vaccine, which also contains Pasteurella; implanted with an ear implant; vaccinated with Multimin (without copper) as well as Vitamin A & E.
· Provide sufficient shade (0.5 – 1.0 m2/lamb) against the sun and protection against inclement weather.
· Use line troughs, not self feeders.
· Sufficient cool and clean drinking water should be available at all times - clean water troughs with each feeding.
· Market lambs weekly as they reach marketability – do not wait until all of them are marketable in order to market them simultaneously.