Welsh lambs showing improved conformation but good timing essential

Apr 12 2012


New figures have been released which show continued improvement from Welsh sheep farmers in meeting lamb market requirements.

Statistics from 2011, released by red meat promotion agency Hybu Cig Cymru (HCC), show that 58 percent of lambs that went through Welsh abattoirs met the market specifications, a rise of 12 per cent compared to 2004.

Carcase weights have also increased over the last seven years from 17.8kg to 18.5kg.

John Richards, HCC's Industry Information Officer, said: Over the last few years, an increasing number of lambs have been reaching the ideal specifications and farmers in Wales have shown a greater understanding of the market requirements.

This has come as a result of improvements including the genetics of the Welsh flock and also training provided by HCC to show farmers what the processing sector is looking for in terms of product quality and consistency.

Since HCC's inception, we have been running Live to Dead courses for Welsh farmers at livestock auction markets and taking them into abattoirs to see what happens to livestock after they leave the farm. This has created a greater understanding within the industry of the needs of the processing sector and the consumer.

This coupled with HCC's market intelligence and knowledge transfer initiatives has led to farmers being better informed and equipped to address the production challenges which they face and meet the requirements of the markets in order to achieve a better price for their lambs add Mr Richards.

The figures from 2011 reveal that 80 per cent of the lambs slaughtered at Welsh abattoirs were meeting the conformation specifications, but some failed to meet the full market requirements because of their fat classification.

This may be due to a number of factors including a result of farmers keeping their lambs on farm too long while trying to judge the best time to go to market. Getting the timing right is essential, and by ensuring lambs are marketed at the correct time, farmers could increase efficiencies and receive improved profit returns for their sheep enterprise said Mr Richards.

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