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Author Topic: Feeding my Ram  (Read 9888 times)

shep53

  • Joined Jan 2011
  • Argyll
Re: Feeding my Ram
« Reply #15 on: November 20, 2012, 07:36:54 pm »
Part of the reason for poor fat /store lamb prices is the cost of cereal based feeds ( my winter feed contract has jumped £50 per tonne ) and it's not going to get any better next year ,since the arable farmers are struggling to sow crops , so sheep and cattle are going to need to finish /live on a more forage based diet (the New Zealanders are way ahead of us  ) .  E B V's are also  being re thought by some in that very lean rams offspring can be slow to finish off forage at export weights
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SteveHants

  • Joined Aug 2011
Re: Feeding my Ram
« Reply #16 on: November 20, 2012, 11:19:49 pm »
Part of the reason for poor fat /store lamb prices is the cost of cereal based feeds ( my winter feed contract has jumped £50 per tonne ) and it's not going to get any better next year ,since the arable farmers are struggling to sow crops , so sheep and cattle are going to need to finish /live on a more forage based diet (the New Zealanders are way ahead of us  ) .  E B V's are also  being re thought by some in that very lean rams offspring can be slow to finish off forage at export weights




I buy my rams using EBVs - in that I will pick 5 or so off the sheet and then go look at them in the flesh. I aim to finish all my lambs off grass, being that I don't get a subsidy, so my margins can't take feed purchasing. The trick I find is to pick one with a more positive figure for fat than you might think, don't look at the overall score, use it as a guide, pick for traits you actually want.


The Kiwis are way ahead preciseley because they stopped all subsidy in the 1960s and suddenly the pressure was on - anything that cost labour or feed was out, and they have some harder terrain than we do. We can skip all the heartache that they had by using their genetics - easyrams use NZ suffolks and texels, you can buy NZ Romneys (although the boys on the marsh will tell you that they kept the best genetics in this country), Highlanders, Primeras etc. There are breeders in this country using performance recording here and producing terminal sires that are arguably good - Peter Babbers Suffolks and Texels look a world away from the lardy buggers in the show ring  - I have heard his Suffolks look like one used to look in the 60s. You can use Meatinc....




Theres a no-feed system for most terrains - I know of folk in the dales using NZ roms, outdoor lambing at 150% no cake, shearing twice a year. There is mr "chevease" who breeds shedding easycare x cheviots way up in scotland who work on the same system no cake, lamb at 170% or so.

Canadian Sheepfarmer

  • Joined Nov 2009
  • Manitoba, Canada.
Re: Feeding my Ram
« Reply #17 on: November 21, 2012, 02:58:48 pm »
Interesting Steve.
I lamb in June, outside on grass. The ewes are just fed hay, they never taste grain. However the hay is usually better quality than that which you could make in Britain, it is a grass alfalfa mix. I also bale oats into a greenfeed. June lambing is the key, and I speak as someone who has lambed sheep in just about every month in the past in 3 different countries.
 
The ewes go out in mid April onto stockpiled grass. They then get 6 weeks of the best feed in the world for sheep, or dairy cows for that matter, May grass. They get exercise, which helps with distocia, and they lamb in prime condition, full of milk, in good warm weather. You are not fighting the elements, trying to keep lambs alive. They have lambed at 190% for the past 4 years.
 
I keep the ram wether lambs until the following January, separating and weaning them early in September when I sell the ewe lambs for breeding stock. The wethers  are around 85-100lbs by the New Year, again just on grass and hay.
 
This works out here due to the low cost of land, though this is changing as the world gets hungrier and commodity prices rise.
 
 I can do nothing about lamb prices, all I can control is my cost of production. It would be hard to get them any lower. The sheep are not pushed and live a natural life too, which is important to me.
« Last Edit: November 21, 2012, 03:02:52 pm by Canadian Sheepfarmer »

SteveHants

  • Joined Aug 2011
Re: Feeding my Ram
« Reply #18 on: November 22, 2012, 12:25:10 am »
Interesting Steve.
I lamb in June, outside on grass. The ewes are just fed hay, they never taste grain. However the hay is usually better quality than that which you could make in Britain, it is a grass alfalfa mix. I also bale oats into a greenfeed. June lambing is the key, and I speak as someone who has lambed sheep in just about every month in the past in 3 different countries.
 
The ewes go out in mid April onto stockpiled grass. They then get 6 weeks of the best feed in the world for sheep, or dairy cows for that matter, May grass. They get exercise, which helps with distocia, and they lamb in prime condition, full of milk, in good warm weather. You are not fighting the elements, trying to keep lambs alive. They have lambed at 190% for the past 4 years.


I lamb in April, just as the grass growth really kicks in. They need to be good converters of grass or they wont last on my system - I have no scope to improve the productvity of the land, so I improve the sheep. I lamb more or less at 180-190% With cereals soon to become prohibitiveley expensive, and the mooting of the removal/cutting/restructure of farm payments, then grass only will be the only way to make a profit.


Plus, of course, it frees up cereals etc that would have gone into sheep for other purposes, ergo is good for the environment. Small ruminants are key to protein production globally and there improvement will be a vitally important tool as populations continue to expand/westernise.

Canadian Sheepfarmer

  • Joined Nov 2009
  • Manitoba, Canada.
Re: Feeding my Ram
« Reply #19 on: November 22, 2012, 04:19:00 pm »
Oh dear. This is in danger of turning into a mutual admiration society!  :D   :(
 
I completely agree with you Steve. I have had this argument with sheep keepers here many times who finish lambs on bought in grain. North America has a tradition of feedlots for cattle and sheep. In the past with poor grain prices the way to sell your grain profitably often was to convert it into beef or lamb.
 
But as things are now in the world, that grain should be for people. One of the best things about sheep is that they can take low value agricultural land, often just scenery, and turn it into protein that we can enjoy.
They do much better too living in a natural way rather than being forced on grains.
As you say, sheep are ruminants!

 

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