Finishing Store Lambs
By Conor Ryan
Over the coming Autumn months, we will see a substantial increase in the number of lambs being finished. As we consider the different finishing strategies, the optimization of grazed grass is without doubt the low cost option available to us. In order to ensure this system works effectively grass husbandry must be exceptional. If grass husbandry practices are not up to scratch or if the energy level of the grass is not where it needs to be the farmer will ultimately be disappointed with the average daily gain (ADG) of the lambs. As we go into the next couple of weeks grass growth will begin to slow and the quality of grass will also begin to depreciate. Therefore, if the grass in the diet is insufficient to meet energy demands, then it is worthwhile thinking about feeding concentrates to the lambs as a supplement or even it might be worth considering finishing lambs indoors on a high concentrate diet. That said in order to improve the economics of the system the objective always should be to maximise the lamb gain from autumn pasture whilst also obtaining a ration which is carefully formulated to feed intensively at a competitive price. The supplementation of concentrates to autumn grass is proven to increase the ADG of lambs. Supplementing late autumn grass with 250g/head/day concentrates is expected to increase the average daily gain by 186g/day compared to grass only. Indeed, increasing the concentrate supplementation of autumn grass to 500g/head/day has shown to increase the ADG to 227g/day according to Teagasc research. For those farmers considering an indoor system offering concentrates ad-lib should lead to an increase in ADG ranging from 250-300g/day. The concentrate being offered to the lambs should be abundant in high energy ingredients such as barley, wheat, maize and beet pulp nuts. The Liffey Mills Lamb Finisher is a 17% protein option which will provide the lambs with the perfect balance of quality energy and protein ingredients which will allow for rapid growth rates, lean meat yield and of course it will lead to an exceptional feed conversion efficiency (FCE). It also has a pelleted lamb mineral in abundance which will act to improve the metabolic activity of the lambs. When we intensively feed lambs, it is important ammonium chloride is included to ensure Urinary Calculi is prevented in ram lambs. Also known as stones in the kidneys. This can cause a serious threat to the ram lambs as it can lead to the retention of urine in the urinary tract which could in turn rupture the urinary bladder. This ration can be also bought in a 16% protein nut form in our Lamb Fattener Cube. Contact your local technical sales representative for more information.