Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Raising the bar for sheep farmers

As the world’s top athletes rise to their respective challenges on the global stage, EBLEX is raising the bar for the nation’s sheep farmers to get the best performance from their rams.

Our Better Returns Programme has for some time made great strides in helping producers evaluate their business and identify where improvements can be made in terms of efficiency and animal performance.

Step forward the ‘Five Tonne Tup’, or at least the ‘Five Tonne Tup’ campaign, encouraging farmers to measure their annual average output per tup, and identify where improvements can be made if they are not reaching a minimum of five tonnes of lamb (liveweight). The average output per tup can be measured by number of ewes put to each tup x number of lambs reared per ewe x sale weight = weight of lamb produced per tup per year (tonnes liveweight). For example: 75 ewes/ram x 1.6 lambs reared/ewe x 42kg finished weight = 5 tonnes liveweight.

Challenging? Yes. On the face of it, the five tonne target may seem tough. Figures from our Business Pointers annual costings data, for example, show that the average sheep producer in England is only getting 2.9 tonnes of lamb liveweight per tup per year.

Achievable? We certainly think so. Our calculations demonstrate that an annual output of five tonnes per tup is a realistic aspirational target for a commercial flock, providing the rams used on the farm are carefully selected and efficiency measures are monitored and managed.

And the potential returns speak for themselves. Recent calculations revealed the gap between 2.9 and five tonnes represents a difference of nearly £4,000 per tup. It’s simply something that the industry can’t afford to ignore.

For more information about the EBLEX Better Returns Programme visit www.eblex.org.uk/returns/. Further information on Fit for Purpose Rams can be found by clicking here.