Ram lambs can burn out after first season
With the shearing done and the silage cut, my lambs are gradually getting fit. However, it's happening a lot slower than last year.
I am weaning everything this week. I left it a little bit later than other years to try and maximise the number of lambs drafted off the ewes. As soon as they are weaned, I will dip and separate the ram and ewe lambs, putting the ram lambs on meal in order to push them on.
The ewe lambs I usually sell off throughout the year as the Texel and Suffolk-cross Mule ewe lambs make great replacements and each year more and more farmers are finding them easy to work with.
The live trade has kept a solid base price of €5.40/kg until now, but this will need to continue to offset the massive costs incurred last spring. The latest price changes is a worrying development however.
With the stability in the price, I am tending to let the lambs get into bigger weights. Other years, I would generally draft lambs at 38-40kg. A friend of mine encouraged me to hold on a bit longer. He made the valid point that having gotten the lambs this far, should I not keep them a little bit longer and maximise the kill out? They are thriving well, lameness is not a problem and grass is plentiful, so from now on 43kg is the target drafting weight.
I will also be giving all my lambs a cobalt bolus. When I did a soil test last January, I did a trace element test on some of the fields and they came up cobalt deficient.
I had suspected this. I had noticed a certain amount of crustiness forming on the lambs' ears and this, I am told, is symptomatic of a lack of cobalt.