THE MARKETS THIS WEEK AT FORBES:
There were 1451 cattle yarded this week at Forbes, with quality generally good including prime yearlings and steers along with a reduced offering of cows. The market eased slightly with prime yearlings 3 to 6c cheaper although the feeder steers were unchanged. Cows eased 3 to 4c a kilo compared to last week’s sale.
Tuesday saw 39,592 sheep yarded including 31,269 lambs. There were approximately 18000 new season lambs with quality as usual very good for the young lambs, which sold $3 to $5 cheaper. “Old” lambs also eased , most grades selling $4 to $6 easier and merino lambs were also similarly cheaper compared to last week’s sale.
To ensure you get the best prices for your lambs when they go to sale, here are some tips for the lambing season for all of our local farmers: Lambs are rapidly hitting the ground, but ensuring that they grow and thrive to be quality weaners can sometimes be difficult. Understanding the nutritional requirements of the ewe before, and during
lactation is critical to your success.
The first essential, non-negotiable requirement of a lamb’s survival, is colostrum. Colostrum is a vital cocktail – full of minerals, vitamins, fats, energy, and antibodies for immunity. However, it is important to note that not all colostrum is created equal, and the quality of which, is entirely dependent on the ewe’s health and nutrition leading into its production.
Ewes with low immunity – or those who have not been administered with pre-lamb clostridials (6in1), will pass on less passive immunity via colostrum to their lamb – of which they rely on until the lamb has had their first vaccination at marking time. The quality of the fats, energy, vitamins and minerals in colostrum are ultimately determined by the diet of the ewe leading into lambing.
Ewes that are fed high starch diets, ie supplemented with grains such as barley or wheat, will have higher levels of energy and feed conversion. Also, having access to a high quality, pre-lamb specific mineral and vitamin supplement is essential, depositing high levels of nutrition into the colostrum.
Once the ewe has lambed, the volume of milk, and its quality in terms of nutrient levels, is ultimately determined by the ewe’s diet. For ewes to efficiently produce milk, diets high in starch promote rumen feed conversion efficiency – meaning ewes consume less feed to produce more milk. Not only does this benefit the lamb for strong growth and development, but is also advantageous to your bottom line, making this a profitable exercise.
To further this, providing ewes with a high quality mineral and vitamin supplement during lactation, ensures that the ewe is not losing vital nutrients through milk production, but also passing these on to
the lamb via the milk. The correct management of this critical phase will allow you to strike a balance between raising strong, fast growing lambs and ewes that maintain good condition throughout the lactation period.
For further information on how to implement these strategies into your enterprise, please contact the experienced animal production specialists at AgriWest Forbes on 6851 4200.