The way animals are presented can have a big bearing on the final sale value and this is the case across all classes.
Mart managers continually highlight uniformity in the animals on offer as being one of the most important factors influencing potential customers.
Looking at breeding sales first, managers explain that uniformity of breed is the first element generally assessed as buyers usually have a preference on breed type and steer away from mixed lots.
One or two poor-quality lots included in a pen of good-quality animals is also another factor that will limit the number of interested customers.
There are more farmers practising a hogget replacement system purchasing ewe lambs and carrying over to the following season.
Many of these buyers are looking for as straightforward a system as possible and this includes ewe lambs with breeding potential being electronically tagged. General presentation such as dagging dirty tail-ends will also pay dividends.
With regards store lambs, the most important factors highlighted by mart managers are grouping lambs into a uniform batch on weight, condition and gender.
Ideally, the range in weight should be no greater than 3kg to 5kg, while the strongest demand is for lambs grouped on gender or in mixed batches of ewes and wethers where terminal-bred lambs are of a similar type with most store lamb buyers opting away from mixed lots of rams and ewe lambs, resulting in lower prices.
There is some confusion around what exactly last week’s announcement on EID means for farmers ordering tags for lambs and what changes it has for sheep traded after 1 October 2018.
The only change coming into play on 1 October 2018 relates to the type of tags available with farmers after this date no longer in a position to purchase permanent tags or existing slaughter tags.
Farmers will still be able to use a single slaughter tag for animals less than 12 months of age leaving the holding of birth for direct slaughter and a single permanent tag for lambs traded in mart or farm-to-farm movements until 1 June 2019, when mandatory electronic tagging is introduced across the entire flock.
You should assess the number of tags on hand before making additional orders between now and 1 October and only order a volume of tags that you think will realistically be used.
Lower volumes available and increased demand has made it harder for farmers to source straw. It is worthwhile to act early and calculate the volume of bales that will be required and, also, if alternative plans can be put in place easily to reduce demand. Build in at least a minimum requirement for lambing and a small reserve.
A lowland ewe requires about 7kg straw per week with hill ewes requiring 4kg to 5kg straw per week or for a quick calculation, a 4 x 4 bale weighing 150kg will bed about 20 lowland ewes or 30 to 35 hill ewes for a week.
Consider the weight of straw in bales when doing the sums. Standard 4x4 round bales weigh about 150kg/160kg but this can vary from 130kg in poorly packed bales to 180kg.
In terms of 8x4x4 square bales, they weigh about 550kg to 580kg but again this can vary from 480kg to 600kg when packed better, while 8x4x3 bales weigh about 370kg to 420kg.