Farm Table says:
This DPI Fact sheet was prepared by sheep specialists in 2016.
It covers the following:
What is feedlotting?
- A management practice to achieve a consistent supply of quality lamb that meets market specifications for weight and fat score.
Why is it used?
- It allows producers to 1) maintain production when pasture availability is low 2) achieve rapid growth when feed prices are low 3) generate cash flow 4) values-add ration components.
The authors remind us that the options must be carefully considered by looking at:
- Viability of different options (selling lambs as stores, maintenance until feed is available, agistment, contract feeding)
- Careful financial analysis that determines price margin and feed cost (most lambs require 10-14kg of feed to produce 2kg of liveweight).
- Financial risk associated with deaths, non-feeders, poor growth and price changes.
A 14-day introductory period will see lambs consume approximately 15-20kg of feed with little liveweight gain.
During the finishing phase, an average feed conversion of 6 to 1 is assumed.
In NSW, a development application must be submitted if more than 4,000 head on feed or if located on environmentally sensitive site and include:
- Provide each lamb with minimum of 5 square meters of yards pace.
- Area should not be large enough to allow green pick growth.
- Preferred lot size is 300-400 lambs.
- Reduced water intake leads to reduced feed intake.
- Water troughs at opportunist end to hay racks and feeders, raised at a minimum of 40cm.
- Average water requirements is approximately2.5 x feed intake (3-4L a day – 2000L of water needed daily for 500 lambs).
- Allows 15-30cm trough space for lamb (i.e. 300 lambs need 45m if can access from both sides)
- Allow 3-5cm of access per lamb to self feeder (i.e. 300 lambs need 9-15m of feeder space)
Other points made include:
- Economic success is more likely with crossbred lambs
- Grains usually comprise 65-85% of finishing ration.
- Lambs need 9-15m of feeder space