Drafting lambs: Farmers are keen to take advantage of strong factory appetite for lambs and capitalise on a further price increase. There are more reports arising of farmers possibly being too eager when drafting with lambs killing poorly and in cases falling below the minimum carcase weight of 17kg. The greatest problem appears to be reported in aged ram lambs that are not long after being weaned and are touch and go on cover.
It is important to keep lambs moving as they come fit for slaughter but it is also important to take account of variable slaughter performance when setting drafting weights and to ensure lambs are selected on a combination of weight and fat cover. There is a big difference in the potential kill-out of lambs pre- and post-weaning. Young fleshed lambs that have been grazed on high-quality swards or received supplementation will kill in the region of 47% to 49% with select lambs hitting 50%.