Tipp sheep farmer on management of his lambs close to slaughter
THE lambs are all weaned and divided into groups according to their weight and how near they are to slaughter.
The most forward group — mostly wether lambs — are getting 250gm of meal per day. These lambs are weighing from 38kg upwards. The meal they are being fed is a simple three-way mix purchased in bulk. We just collect 2.5 tonnes from the merchant when we need to.
There is no need of a fancy creep ration at this time of year — all you need is energy in the form of cereals and pulp.
We are only feeding meal this week and would hope to draft lambs every two weeks from now on.
We took one load since weaning and even if kill-out was not great, the fat cover and carcass grade were fine. The small bit of meal from now on should help kill-out percentages. We will need all the weight we can get to keep the sale price up.
We have our replacement ewe-lambs picked off. We have 180 again this year from five different breeds. They are a very uniform bunch in size and weight. These ewe lambs were picked from the information collected at lambing time based on their mother’s ability to lamb by herself, produce plenty of milk and have good hardy lambs.
The 40-day weight of the lamb and also her weaning weight are used to provide additional information.
By collecting this data you can improve your flock and avoid using replacements from under-perfoming ewes.
We try to keep 4 and 5 star ewe lambs where possible. We keep 10pc of lambs born from each ram used.
These ewe lambs are now in their own group getting good grass and we will select the best of them to go to the ram the first of November to lamb next April.
They got a mineral dose and will receive their vaccination for toxoplasmosis and Enzootic abortion in the next few weeks.
Grass on the farm is fine. We spread one bag of Sulphur Can last week on about half the fields and these have greened up well.
These fields had been eaten out well by ewes so the regrowth should be of good quality for the lambs next time round.
We are also topping off any stemmy grass left after the ewes. We will also spread watery slurry to build up grass for ewes before mating. Ewes are in good order with only one lot of thinner ewes needing special treatment for weight gain before mating.
This group, made up mostly of hoggets that reared twins and lame ewes, seem to be in the yard every week for some reason or other. We gave them a dose for worms and fluke last week.
Next time when we take dung samples from the lambs we will collect a sample from these ewes as well just to see if they are still carrying a worm burden.
Next up is a TB herd test to do and then cows will start to calve. We have a new cattle crush and pen to erect which will be covered by a shed.
The one job that I did not miss this summer was trying to make hay on a large scale. It’s only when you avoid this job that you realise how much time it takes up.
Having said that we did made 50 bales, more by accident rather than design, from grass that got too dry for silage in the good weather during June.
John Large is a Drystock farm based in Co Tipperary
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