With the recent upturn in factory lamb prices over the last fortnight or so – which has seen prices rise as high as €6.40/kg – and with a good mart trade for lambs also being seen, its hard to find many negatives at present.

However, one issue that appears to be cropping up of late is the fall in lamb kill outs.

Procurement managers have said to Agriland that an increasing number of under-finished lambs are coming through the system.

One procurement manager said that “lamb kill-outs have reduced in recent weeks and that farmers should take extra care when drafting lambs and to only draft lambs over 40kg”.

At sales, it is becoming more noticeable the number of lambs that are weighing in relatively heavy but are only big in frame and in reality, are lacking any considerable amount of flesh and could really be classed as forward stores.

In many cases this is being reflected in prices paid out for these lambs. There is a very strong store lamb trade at marts, so for farmers who are unsure on whether their lambs are fit or not, the mart is a good alternative for light / under-finished lambs.

Factories that are getting under-finished lambs in are paying lower prices of €5.00/kg for light lambs killing out at a carcass weight of less than 16kg.

Regular weighing of lambs is the only way to find out how your lambs are performing and whether or not they are fit to kill.