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Studying lamb performance amidst low killouts

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Studying lamb performance amidst low killouts

Lamb performance issues impacting killouts of lambs at slaughter can be put down to many reasons, including bad weather conditions and the expense of feeding concentrates to lambs.

The lower performance in lambs this year has shown an increased number of lighter, under-fleshed lambs with carcass weights of 16-17kg and fat class 1 lambs being slaughtered.

These lambs are posing challenges for processors to market, and are not achieving their potential for the farmers that supplied them, with the lambs potentially being more suitable for the live trade, or to be fed more concentrates to achieve a heavier carcasses.

Lamb performance

Fiona McGovern, at Teagasc Athenry, Co. Galway, provided an update on the flocks there, where close attention is being paid to the condition of lambs being sent for slaughter.

McGovern said: “Grass growing conditions are at an optimum for the time of year here in Athenry. Grass growth is currently above average at 75kg dry matter (DM)/ha, with a demand of 35kg DM/ha.”

“All lambs in the INZAC (Ireland New Zealand across breed animal comparison study) flock were weaned on June 13, at approximately 100 days of age.”

McGovern said the “lambs are currently averaging at 38kg liveweight with a growth rate of 230g/day in the month post-weaning”.

The first group of lambs has been drafted and sent for slaughter from the Teagasc flock, with all other lambs receiving a cobalt drench fortnightly at weighing.

“This year we are carrying out some additional work that focuses on lamb performance post-weaning,” McGovern added.

Assessing lambs

The additional work being undertaken at the Teagasc flock is to assess the feeding of weaned lambs and the resulting effect on the carcass of the lamb.

McGovern said: “A selection of 24 lambs have been individually housed and are being assessed for grass dry matter intake and digestibility.

“At the beginning of September, we will measure 250 INZAC lambs through a mobile CT scanner to assess carcass conformation and rumen size prior to slaughter.

“The methane output of these lambs will also be monitored, which will enable us to investigate relationships between rumen size and methane output in addition to assessing the impact of genetic merit on carcass traits.”

William

I'm William from America, I'm a food lover, often discovering and making new recipes. I started my blog to share my love for food with others. My blog is filled with delicious recipes, cooking tips, and reviews about restaurants and products. I'm also an advocate for healthy eating and strive to create recipes that are easy to make and use fresh ingredients. Many of my recipes contain vegetables or grains as the main ingredients, with a few indulgences thrown in for good measure. I often experiment with new ingredients, adding international flavors and finding ways to make dishes healthier without compromising on flavour. I'm passionate about creating simple yet delicious recipes that are fun to make and can easily be replicated at home. I also love sharing my experiences eating out with others so they can get the best out of their dining experiences. In addition to cooking and writing, I'm also an avid traveler, often visiting new places to discover local delicacies and explore different flavors. I'm always looking for a new challenge – whether it's trying an exotic food or creating a new recipe using unusual ingredients. My blog is a reflection of my passion for food and I'm always looking for new ways to share it with the world. Join me on my culinary journey and let's explore delicious foods together!

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