Factories issue warning to farmers on light lambs

Factory buyers have issued a warning to farmers over presenting light lambs for slaughter. Those who continue to do so may be hit with penalties, procurement managers have warned.

Lamb buyers have noted that additional supplies of light lambs have become available over recent weeks. They also claim that a limited number of markets are available for such lambs presently.

Farmers have also been urged to be vigilant when it comes to selecting lambs for slaughter, as kill-out rates as low as 40% have been witnessed over recent days.

Although lambs may appear to be heavy enough for slaughter, enlargement of the gut – caused by a falling grass quality, a move away from milk diets and more fibrous grass – will bring down the kill-out rates achieved.

In instances where lambs have not been supplemented with concentrates, lamb buyers have warned farmers to be vigilant and to select lambs that are heavy enough to produce a >16kg carcass.

Handling and weighing lambs regularly will avoid lambs being drafted that are under-fleshed.

It’s worth remembering that the kill-out rates can sit around 45% for weaned lambs on a predominately grass-based diet. In addition, meal fed lambs will have a 1-2% higher kill out than lambs fed solely on grass.