Ground conditions in many parts of the country have deteriorated rapidly over the last week, forcing earlier housing of cattle for some and sparking greater interest in store lambs.

Teagasc store lamb finishing blueprints show potential for farmers, with surplus grass / forage crops to generate margins ranging from €12/head to in excess of €40/head.

The potential margins are influenced by sale date. Sample blueprints show 35kg crossbred lambs purchased on 1 October for €90 (€2.57/kg) and finished on 20 January, generating an average potential margin of €11.82/head.

This increases to €16.62/head for lighter crossbred ram lambs weighing 30kg and costing €75/head.

The blueprint is based on grazing lambs until 1 February with concentrates introduced at grass on 1 January and lambs housed for a three-week finishing period on 1 February.

There is potentially more scope to generate a higher margin of €21/head from finishing a 30kg hill lamb purchased at €65/head with a similar finishing blueprint incorporating a longer indoor finishing period from 1 February to 16 March.

The highest margin of over €40/head is from purchasing 25kg hill lambs at €45/head, grazing until 1 February and then finishing intensively indoors for two months.