Effect of Pre-marketing Management Practices on Shrink Loss in Lambs

South Dakota State University

Type: Research Paper
Knowledge level: Advanced

Farm Table says:

Shrink loss in lambs is a natural phenomenon and although highly variable, it can be effectively managed.

What is the problem? 

Two experiments were conducted to evaluate the effects of three common lamb pre-marketing management practices on live weight shrink loss.
The results from this survey showed how sheep producers in the North Central Region of the US manage their lambs through the marketing process.

What did the research involve?

Three treatments
• original pen
• transition pen
• and overnight stand pen

During the study, lambs had free access to a lamb diet or hay and fresh water.
Additionally a producer survey was conducted to assess current marketing practices in the North Central region of the US.

What were the key findings?

Overnight stand lambs experienced greater overall shrink loss for both feeder and finished lambs compared to the other treatments.
Shrink loss in lambs is a natural phenomenon and although highly variable, it can be effectively managed.
Producers that are able to weigh, sort, and immediately transport lambs short distances to points of sale are going to observe less shrink in their lambs which should yield more return.
Longer distances to point of sale and lack of facilities for some sheep producers can limit intervention strategies to minimize shrink loss.

When combined with shrink loss data feeder lambs (32 kg) that are exposed to an overnight stand would need to command an additional $6.86 per cwt to return the same dollars as lambs that are moved to a transition pen or sorted and shipped the same morning.
Finished lambs (62 kg) under an overnight stand would need an extra$5.02 per cwt to compensate for the amount of shrink loss experienced in comparison to the other pre-marketing practices.

Final comment

Objectively monitoring  the level of shrink loss and becoming aware of expectations at points of sale will aid in modifying pre-marketing practices on farm to limit shrink loss and increase the net return.

2017 - United States - South Dakota State University
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