Make the Most of Improved Lamb Prices for 2020
According to IFA sheep chair Sean Dennehy 2020 has started brightly for Irish sheep farmers as tightening supplies push factory and mart prices higher. Indeed the total 2019 kill was back 204,873 head on 2018. According to the Central Statistics Office June 2019 livestock survey the number of breeding sheep fell by 83,600 so lamb supplies should be tighter this year.
Sean Dennehy is positive about the early part of 2020, as Chinese demand will continue to draw New Zealand product away from Europe. Meanwhile supplies in Britain are only adequate to supply their own market as a 5% fall in British sheep meat production is expected in 2020.
According to Teagasc in 2020, with lower input expenditure, increased output volume and the relatively stable outlook for lamb prices, margins on sheep farms are forecast to increase from the levels estimated for 2019. Sheep margins earned in 2020 will continue to be boosted by the receipt of the coupled sheep welfare payment.
For sheep farmers Dr Elizabeth Berry BVSC, PhD, MRCVS, Veterinary Director with Animax says that improving returns means maximising several factors: “These include lambing percentage, ewe and lamb health, and efficiency converting grass into growth,” she says.
“However all of these can be held back by under-par trace element status, even at sub-clinical levels. Pre- and post-lambing, the critical ones are selenium, iodine, cobalt and, on some but not all farms, copper. If just one is lacking, this can impact on health and performance.”
To address this risk, Elizabeth Berry reports an increasing number of farmers opting for a 180-day ‘trickle charge’ of micronutrients offered by Allsure leaching bolus technology.
“Timing is flexible, for giving bolus” she says, “typically four to six weeks before lambing, then repeated 180 days later. Lambs gain too, of course, as a result of trace element enriched milk.
Leaching bolus technology, unique to Animax, is designed for consistent, slow release of trace elements at a regulated rate. The company’s livestock specialists are available to farmers for free advice.