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2 months ago

Sheep Matters_Aug-Sept 17 (redesigned)

Sample copy of new publication aimed at the progressive farmer and professional in the UK sheep industry. For further information and to register your interest go to www.sheepmatters.co.uk

Are you producing what

Are you producing what the market really wants? Selling finished lamb The steps to producing the best return for your business include identifying a market and customer(s) and producing animals to meet that specification. Can you afford to not produce what your customer requires? Good producers deploy appropriate skills, knowledge and experience to deliver outstanding husbandry and management of their stock. Critical to the production of well finished animals are: (1, 2, 3) • ●Regular monitoring that includes weighing and handling. • ●Adjusting feeding regimes to reach growth targets. • ●Selling animals when they are ready, not by historical dates. • ●Offering lambs in batches of even sized animals in terms of weight, conformation and fat levels. • ●Using feedback from auction markets, buyers or abattoirs to adjust breeding or feeding strategies, to improve conformation and growth respectively. Carcass classification In the UK and Europe, the current carcass classification system is based on the EUROP classification for conformation and numeric assessment for fatness (classes 1-5). Combining the scores for conformation and fat determines the market most suitable for each carcass. The grid is shown below with the dark green areas highlighting the core classifications that the majority of UK abattoirs require (2, 3). Selling liveweight This method of selling does not give detailed carcass information to the producer. However, by targeting the SQQ range of weights (25.5 to 45.5 kg) comprising Light, Standard and Medium categories; producers would expect to hit the ideal carcass requirements for the majority of markets. The data presented in the graphs are derived % meeting specification CONFORMATION CLASS: IMPROVING CONFORMATION 100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 Proportion NSL meeting liveweight grades 0 Jan Feb March April May June July August Sept Oct Nov Dec from GB weekly average prices published by AHDB Beef & Lamb. The proportion of New Season Lamb meeting SQQ category is beginning to drop from its 90% + high seen through June and July, as the proportion of Heavy lambs available for sale increases. We do not yet know what impact this will have on the quality of lamb carcasses produced at slaughter. FAT CLASS: INCREASING FATNESS E U R O P SQQ Heavy 52kg plus 1 2 3L 3H 4L Q 18 AUGUST & SEPTEMBER 2017

Selling deadweight The main advantage of selling deadweight is that detailed carcass information and feedback can be provided to the producer and premiums may be paid for quality and quantity. The GB weekly data show that: Q • ● The proportion of NSL carcasses meeting R3L or better is slowly reducing from a high and is now approaching 50% of those reported over the past 13 weeks. • ● The proportion meeting R2 or better has probably peaked. These represent carcasses more suited to export and the Mediterranean market. • ● The proportion of R3H or better is currently at 18% and expected to increase as the season progresses, and lambs become fatter. Unless these animals are specifically aimed at the traditional or catering butcher, we believe that they represent a missed opportunity for the (majority) supermarket buyers. Time will tell! 60 Proportion OSL & NSL meeting specific deadweight classifications 50 % meeting classification 40 30 20 10 0 Jan Feb March April May June July August Sept Oct Nov Dec R2 & better R3L & better R3H & better too Lean too Fat poor Conformation L 4H 5 ‘The steps to producing the best return for your business include identifying a market and customer(s) and producing animals to meet that specification’ 2017 AUGUST & SEPTEMBER 19

Sheep Matters - August/ September 2017