Pasture Selection is Key for Finishing Lambs in Spring

Despite the recent supply driven price plunge, the race is on to get new season lambs to market in time to take advantage of the seasonal uptick in demand for well finished young lambs over the next few months. As supply of older, late-finished winter lambs begins to tighten, prices generally rebound strongly for the new drop.

Lamb Performance on Crops
In many regions, winter crops have been well utilised, and if supported by a green feed supplement like StockMins-Crop Grazer Plus have helped recently weaned lambs achieve growth rates in excess of 250g/hd/day. In the next few weeks crops are expected to be locked up, and producers are forced to look for alternative finishing forage for lambs in early late-winter and early-spring. This is where fresh late-winter and early-spring pastures can be utilised to great effect.

Lamb Requirements for Optimal Growth
To achieve optimal growth rates on pasture, lambs require a dry matter intake (DMI) of around 4% of their body weight per day. Of that, ideally, total diet protein of 16% and Metabolisable Energy (ME) of 11-12MJ/kg DM.
Like crops, during late-winter and early-spring most winter dominant pastures are in their active growing phase and are at the peak of their nutritional value (70 to 80% digestibility, 10 to 12 MJ/kg DM and 22 to 26% protein). This is more than adequate to achieve rapid growth when paired with a green feed supplement. See image of pasture value chart showing how pasture value changes as it matures.

Maturing Pastures Decline in Value
When temperatures begin to rise in mid-spring, winter dominant pastures enter their reproductive phase. Growth rates that were achievable in late-winter and early-spring, would no longer be supported by maturing pasture without adequate energy supplementation. In order to correct this energy shortfall, we recommend feeding grain (barley at around 200g/hd/day). The inclusion of StockMins-Lamb Finisher in this situation can see maturing pastures generate lamb growth rates of up to 250g/hd/day (depending on pasture quality).

Good Time to Graze Lucerne
As winter pastures begin to flower, from mid-spring onwards, protein and digestibility become limiting factors for growth rates of grazing livestock. This is the perfect time to graze lucerne, as its high protein level makes it ideal for finishing lambs. Energy is still limiting in lucerne, so offering barley at around 200g/hd/day and pairing it with StockMins-Lamb Finisher can see lambs finish well by growing in excess of 300g/hd/day.

Supplementing for Spring Finishing Success
StockMins-Crop Grazer Plus and StockMins-Lamb Finisher are both built with Bovatec®, which has been shown to generate extra growth in grazing livestock by up to 14%.1

Follow the links below to view product summaries or call the ANP team for more information.
StockMins-Crop Grazer Plus
StockMins-Lamb Finisher

1 Zoetis Data on file. Bovatec® is a registered product of Zoetis.