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Stackyard News Jan 06

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Hogget Producers Should Learn Lessons of 2005

English hogget producers are advised to learn the lessons of last year and sell their old season lambs as soon as they reach the right level of finish for the market rather than being tempted to hold on to them too long in search of better prices.

photo courtesy of
beltex lambs

This is the timely warning from the English Beef and Lamb Executive (EBLEX) following the serious deterioration in 2005 carcase quality and market returns highlighted in its detailed analysis of first quarter classification and pricing data for the past two years.

The analysis shows lamb prices across the country remaining exceptionally flat from January to March 2005 as well as averaging over 24p/kg deadweight less than the previous year; the differential rising from under 10p/kg in January to more than 30p/kg in February and March.

At the same time, the proportion of lambs slaughtered at 3H or fatter in 2005 was an average of nearly 2% higher than 2004 - representing an additional 32,800 lambs marketed outside the target specification in England.

EBLEX advises that producers should be cautious of incurring unnecessary price penalties for clearly over-fat carcases falling outside normal spec, especially if in the first quarter the market mirrors the 2005 trend of generally lower overall market prices.

Many hogget producers who delayed marketing in the face of poor early season prices last year, therefore, merely served to reduce their returns still further by producing increasingly out-of-specification lambs. At the same time, the greater number of over-fat lambs themselves contributed to a lowering of average prices, creating a vicious circle.

To guard against similar problems this season, EBLEX advises store lamb finishers to sell  stock as soon as they meet the required specification - E,U,R carcases of fat class
2-3L of 17-21kg for the UK and 12-19kg for export - target your market and select lambs for slaughter through regular handling and ensuring they are clean. Detailed production guidance is available in the Lamb Action for Profit resource at or from the new BRP Target Lamb Production Manual available from Tel: 0870 2418829

link Is There Life After CAP Reform?
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link Cull cows will be wasted unless they are finished for export

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