Invest in spring lamb nutrition for best returns

Investing in spring lamb nutrition could help sheep producers achieve ‘their best returns this year’ with the anticipated strong trade in the coming months.

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Alister Davies, UK Beef & Sheep Commercial Manager ForFarmers explained that with both Ramadan and Easter falling in March this year there will be significant demand for lamb.

He said: “AHDB has recently reported that there are 430,000 fewer hoggets available, which no doubt means there will be less carried forward into April and May. This will also help strengthen the new season lamb trade.

“Other factors such as the move to more grass-based, later lambing systems, together with the nightmare of Schmallenberg will also drive the new season market early on,” he said. “Who knows what the price will be in May, but considering basic supply and demand principles, trade should be strong.”

Maximising the opportunities of those anticipated high prices means creep feeding will be a worthwhile investment, he stressed.

“Creep feeding always pays. It can increase daily liveweight gain from 200g to as much as 450g and better muscle growth can help secure better conformation grades.

“Lambs sold earlier will hit the best prices and by reaching saleable weights sooner, producers will increase the value per lamb while also reducing costs to get there.”

Other benefits could include reduced workload, a more positive cash flow, and the land becoming available sooner for other stock or enterprises, he added.

Alister advises feeding a quality feed on an adlib basis to maximise growth of this year’s lambs.

He said: “For example feeding our Ewbol Prestige can get the better-bred lambs to 40kg liveweight by just 12 weeks of age, hitting those higher prices and achieving around £30 - £50 more margin per lamb based on feed cost alone.

“Therefore investing just £15 to £18 in the nutrition of these spring lambs to capitalise the peak of the market could achieve the best return on many units this year.”

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