Feedlot management is a high-volume, low-margin game, says Riaan van der Walt, Meadow Feeds Ruminant Technical Manager. This also applies when it comes to the fattening of lambs for slaughter, and every extra gram of average daily gain (ADG) could make a difference to the pocket of both the producer and the feedlot operator.
Van der Walt sat down for an interview on the Farmer’s Inside Track podcast to share some tips on factors to maximise ADG.
“The two most important factors that influence daily gains are high water and feed intake. The easiest way to do that is always to provide clean and cold water if it’s possible and always have feed available and water available to [the lambs],” he said.
“Stocking density also plays a big role in the feed space available, and we also always recommend about 30 centimetres per head when you feed two times a day. But in these highly advanced intensive systems, you can even go as low as five centimetres per head per day when there’s feed available all the time.”
Van der Walt also expanded on the effect of stress during transport, which can have a significant impact.
“Morbidity and mortality have a direct impact on profitability and are normally the highest in the first two weeks when transport and handling accounts for most of the incidents. So, any practices or any facilitation where you can minimise the handling of the animals or minimise the stress factors then will always be beneficial and more profitable in the long run,” he said.
He also advises farmers and feedlot operators to train staff to make sure that they can handle the lambs with ease and get them ready in the pens as quickly as possible.
In this episode, Van der Walt also discusses:
- The role of superior genetics in lamb feedlot profitability;
- Why meat breeds like SA Meat Merinos do so much better; and
- The key points of the two phases of lamb fattening in the feedlot.
Want to know more? Listen to the full episode of Farmer’s Inside Track.
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