Lamb

RMPP action groups

The Red Meat Profit Partnership (RMPP) is in the process of rolling out the next phase of their programme which is all about providing farmers with supporting expertise to make changes that will boost their business.

Up until now RMPP has focused on building research into the drivers of farm profitability and how information flows through the rural networks including farmers and all the key influencers they engage with. Quite a few useful tools have been developed in the process and recently a training programme has been underway to lift the skills of facilitators who will work with groups of farmers. Now we have reached the point though when all this needs to be converted into actions and RMPP Action Network is the main mechanism for doing this.

Action Groups are groups of 7-9 farm businesses who have come together to focus on a common theme, with each of these businesses developing their own plan of how they will achieve their ambitions. RMPP will provide $4000 per farm to provide support to the group. This funding could be used to cover quite a range of costs as part of supporting the group goals – facilitation costs are one of these, but there are many other costs which could qualify depending on what the group is setting out to do. You can view these at www.actionnetwork.co.nz

AbacusBio has looked at this programme and we have put together an outline of three different group topics that we think would interest farmers in our region. If you are interested in one of these please let us know. If there is sufficient interest, we will co-ordinate an application to RMPP for the group. The topics chosen for each of these may at first glance seem simplistic – that is until you start to think through all the factors involved in being able to achieve the target.

The group topic suggestions are;

Group 1 – sheep sector

Option 1: 3kg more average lamb carcass weight at the same date

One major opportunity for lamb producers is to increase the carcass weight of lambs from 18-19kg averages up to 21-22kg average.

To achieve this requires lambs to be around 6-7kg live weight heavier at the date of slaughter, and achieving this without major disruption to a farm’s timing of supply will require a significant lift in lamb weaning weights and post weaning lamb growth rate.

To achieve the target will require a co-ordinated plan to review and address many factors. These will include; maternal livestock genetics, use and genetic merit of terminal sires, sheep to cattle ratios and management, lactation nutrition, summer & autumn feed quality, animal health.

Option 2: Plus-3kg average lamb weaning live-weight at 100 days 

Another key opportunity for lamb producers is to increase 100-day lamb weaning live-weight by 3kgs – very important for store lamb sellers and also important for finishers.  This additional weaning weight needs to be expressed and achieve an increase in total kg of lamb weaned (not merely a tradeoff of reduced numbers vs heavier), and could also be related as an efficiency index against the ewe flock. The efficiency index would measure total kg of lamb weaned vs the number and weight of ewes mated.

This target will be achieved through the review and optimisation of multiple factors impacting lamb growth including; management of feed and stock prior to lambing, ewe condition, lamb genetics, early lactation nutrition, pasture offering to lambs in mid-late lactation, use and selection of terminal sire genetics plus the many forage, fertiliser, stocking rate, livestock mix, and grazing management options available.  

Achieving this goal will probably require a greater amount of feed at the start of spring, while the 2nd half of Spring could increasingly be about the quality of pasture to increase lamb growth rate. Innovations could include the adoption of creep gates for example. Genetics also plays a major part in the growth of lamb and their biological metabolism.

RMPP funding would provide expertise to help determine exactly where your farm is not maximising your potential, and then help you to implement options that will remedy this and lift productivity.

 

Group 2 – Plus 30 kg carcass weight on 27-month cattle

Most 27 month cattle are killed well below their potential and there is no discount for heavier carcasses. A modest but consistent increase in growth rate post weaning to achieve this target. Understanding all the current seasonal growth rates being achieved on farm and then using a combination of management techniques and new forage options to improve these will be central to this group, plus review of genetic capability, livestock numbers and enterprise mix.

 

Group 3 – “Harnessing the use of genetics to increase farm profitability”

This group will focus on using tools to assess the genetic merit of a farm’s current livestock, developing customised genetic plans to address identified weaknesses, making full use of superior terminal sire as well as maternal sire genetics. It could use modelling to assess the on-farm impact of higher performance livestock and work through how to adapt feeding and management practises to ensure the improved genetic capability is fully expressed.

If you are interested in one of these groups (you can only be in one) then please contact either Sharl Liebergreen, Megan McCall (mmccall@abacusbio.co.nz) or Simon Glennie at AbacusBio.