A lesson in maximising lamb kill-out prices
Regular weighing and monitoring are key to good factory lamb prices
Regular weighing and handling of lambs along with monitoring how the previous week's lambs killed out enable Co Sligo-based Sean Conway to produce a consistent product and maximise lamb price.
Sean aims to produce a good R3 or U3 grade lamb with a carcase as near to the weekly factory cut off pay weight as possible.
The majority of lambs (91pc) sold off the Conway farm are slaughtered in Irish Country Meats, Navan, Co Meath, with the remainder sold as stores in the local mart.
Of all lambs slaughtered this year, 93.5pc of lambs were in the ideal fat class 3 - 40pc of these were U grades and 53pc R grades.
Similar to last year, the U3 grade lambs achieved the highest price of €103.86. Likewise, when drafted at similar weights lambs that graded R2 had the lightest carcase weight and lowest price at €94.56.
The message is clear: under -fleshed lambs will have poorer kill out percentages leading to lighter carcases and lower lamb prices.
Fortunately for Sean, only 3pc of his lambs fell into this category. Lambs of fat class 4 generally exceed the weekly pay weight and are uneconomical to retain on the farm especially if they are consuming concentrates.
This year, due to poor grass growth in mid-summer and a decline in lamb performance, concentrates were introduced to the remaining lambs on the farm for finishing around mid-August. Concentrates fed per lamb sold amounted to €3.40.