Donít over-finish lamb, says Eblex

Eblex is urging lamb producers to target the market and carefully select stock for slaughter.

The information has been released by the red meat levy board to ensure processorsí stock is appealing to the broadest market, as well as producing maximum returns.

According to Eblex, autumn and winter-slaughtered lambs have been over-fat, which it said should indicate to producers the need to not over-finish stock.

The Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) Market Intelligence/Eblex forecast for the sheep sector has highlighted the fact that, following the further disruption to the finishing of lambs in 2012, the final slaughter figure for this year is likely to be 4% lower than in 2011 - down by around 550,000 head.

The effects of poor weather earlier in the season have been reflected in lower lamb throughputs at UK abattoirs. As a result, overall UK lamb slaughterings in September were down by 11% year-on-year (YOY).

National selection specialist at Eblex Steve Powdrill said it had been a poor year all round. He added: ďLambs have not finished and slaughterings are well behind where we would expect them to be. In these circumstances the tendency is for producers to over-finish their stock. However, they have to look at their costs of production doing this to determine whether or not it is actually generating a healthy return for their business.

ďIf we look at the hogget trade earlier this year, lambs at 42kg were making 215p/kg liveweight in the spring, grossing at £90.30. Lambs taken on to heavier weights, with fewer market outlets, were discounted. For example, the average for a 47kg lamb in mid-March was 20p less and those hoggets that were taken to over 52kg saw the average slip a further 20p, averaging 175p/kg grossing or £91 per head. This is a trend that is likely to continue. With current high feed costs and tight winter forage supplies, which is more important: pence per kg or pounds per head?

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>Eblex report rise in lamb sales


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