Lamb receipts are the main source of flock income in most farm and range flocks. Whether lambs are finished for market or sold as feeders there are feeding and marketing options which could increase net flock income.
Feeding lambs to finished weights beyond the point where the cost of gain exceeds market value will reduce profit potential. Average daily gain is the key factor in the cost of gain. Sharp increases in cost of gain would be expected during the latter phase of a finishing period since body growth efficiency declines due to increasing fat deposition associated with maturity. Sort and sell based on the amount of fat cover rather than a rigid minimum market weight.
Whether to background feed all or a portion of a feeder lamb crop would depend on lamb weights, lamb growth potential, feed resources and costs, facilities, market conditions, and available capital. In most cases producers have control over these variables except for market conditions. Break-even projections can be made to assess whether backgrounding is a viable economic opportunity or a risk for the current lamb crop based on feeder lamb supply-demand information and subsequent projected price levels.
Number of Pages
South Dakota State University
Copyright © 1995 South Dakota State University
Held, Jeff, "Lamb Feeding and Marketing Decisions Can Influence Flock Profitability" (1995). South Dakota Sheep Field Day Proceedings and Research Reports, 1995. 8.