I guess being part of this group for 5 years has taught me more than I could have learned in any training course, but it didn't set me up for the Cache Valley Virus. If you are a sheep producer that breeds in the summer & had deformed lambs, you may have had it. Nasty thing to get & no vaccine either. They are stiff & ridged, usually curved spine & at times very hard to get out of the ewe. On the good side, Purina is making a stronger push to get better on the sheep side by improving the products they have now & building some new ones. As with the improvements in dairy milk replacers with Grant Gould coming on board, similar changes are now being carried out for the sheep & goat products. This has allowed us to offer a better product for performance on all of our milk replacers.
One product that I think is the Cadillac is the Lambena. We ran what I would call a limited trial. There are a lot of producers in our sheep group that use a distiller starting product that they rave about, so we split 2 groups into different barns, one on the ddgs mix and one on the Lambena. We offered both products at the start to see how quickly they started eating creep. The ddgs was maybe a few days ahead of the pellet, but no more than that. We then left one on the pellet and one on the ddgs and ran them over the TSI scale unit at weaning. The difference was ddgs at .65 avg gain per day on the group & the Lambena was .84 gain per day in lbs. Will just say that groups were not in the same barn so trial was not 100% accurate, but showed us enough to stay with the pellet. The cost was a little higher on the pellet, but with gain it made it worth it.
With sheep prices strong, there is more advantage than ever to keep lambs alive.
It has been awhile since I have talked about sheep in this newsletter. Since the last time I talked about sheep, our flock at home has gotten bigger & a few more people are getting into sheep.
There was a sheep meeting in Napanee a few weeks ago. Unfortunately I could not make it, but I received some highlights on the meeting. One thing mentioned was Stockman’s Choice, which comes in powder & paste. Gail uses the paste at home for anything that is just off of feed or lambs that seem to be a little sluggish. It basically promotes good bugs in the stomach & gives them a little kick to get them back rolling again. The tubes or pails can be ordered in by our stores.
Another big topic was Cocci in lambs. Some farms battle this big time. There has been talk around Deccox, however this has to have a vet script before any feed can be made. Bovatec however is different. We have it in our 22% Pre-Starter & you can order feed & have the Bovatec put in it.
Another product new out is Baycox. I have not used it yet, but I hear mixed reviews. At first it was thought you could give it to newborns but now my thinking is that at 3 weeks old is a better program. To my knowledge Baycox is a drench product that is like getting Bovatec in their system.
Also happening in the sheep industry is 100 lb. lambs are making more money these days. If you have the breed to be able to push them to that size we can help show you the cost per day & the overall profit on those 100 pounders .
I am going to work sheep & beef into this topic. Sometimes some people tend to wonder if mineral is important. I hear the phrase, I never feed it & have no trouble, don’t need it. Then it happens & bang, everything goes off the rail, but why? Well lots of reasons, but quality of hay could be one. You know the "I didn`t get any rain on it”, but you cut it in July. Anyone that monitors sheep mineral will tell you that when a ewe gets close to lambing her intake goes up by close to 4x’s—pretty huge.
Why the benefits at this time? If you have had retained placentas, sluggish lambs and calves or are falling behind on your breeding, the first spot I would look is mineral.
Now as for blocks, I am not trying to discourage blocks, they are easy & can have some protein & be a cheap option, but from 6 weeks before calving or lambing till after breeding, blocks will let you down. Think about how many times they have to lick that block to get enough to meet their needs, tongue would get sore first.
I learned some phrases on my trip to Jamaica. We are tired of winter—Ya Mon! Spring comes early—Ya Mon & if you have any questions at anytime NO PROBLEM Mon!
Prices are creeping up mostly because I have no finished lambs to sell myself right now. But on that note, if you have some that will be in the 80lb range in October, please contact me as I have a customer that is looking for some.
Creep those lambs early with Lambena. Fastest growth you will ever put on your lambs, and it will pay you back
Wed., April 24th starting @ 7pm- Registration @ 6:30
Hastings Civic Centre- 6 Albert St. E., top of hill (Hwy 45)
D. Kennedy - OMARFA Sheep Specialist- Topic - Fertility & Factors Affecting It
D. Benschop - Agribrands Purina Canada -Topic - Nutrition for Sheep
For more information on the meeting, please contact your Sales Rep or one of our
I remember two and a half years ago when I warned sheep producers that when I got in it would go south, and 2012 was that year. Prices were strong in the first part of the year, but since May, the wheels have fallen off. Even this close to Christmas, they have not responded. Why, is anyone's guess, but the fact is with hay being worth so much, it is a hard go. Feet issues were big this year as well with a lot of my producers. I do know that with Zinc Sulphate and the dreaded foot bath, you can get it cleared up, but it is work for sure. Yeah, half my customers thinking right now—Shawn does work? and your right, Gail does most of it.
A lot of producers have lambs on the ground or are lambing now. I would like to take time to go over some facts.
Mineral - If you think you do not need it you're fooling yourself. In the years I have watched this and asked customers, why is it that a ewe getting ready to lamb will take more mineral than a dry ewe? Why is it that older lambs will eat some mineral even if they have creep feed? Why is it that producers who feed a higher selenium level in their mineral do not needle lambs at birth - myself included?
I have heard some producers are talking about running lambs on pasture into fall before selling them off. Every producer has their way as long as it works for them. I figure that every day they stay around is one more day for predator or something else to happen to them. I also feel that a young lamb is a better lamb to eat and hopefully buyers will think so too.
Here is my cost breakdown-
- Based on $240 corn, $120 per tonne hay, $200 oats, supp $700.
- Having twins makes you more money ( I know, a no brainer)
- Lactating ration 50-60 day approx. $.48/day $28 (note fed the same with 1, 2 or 3 lambs)
- Creep feeding 30 day approx. $.26/day $ 7.80
- Feeder lambs from 70 days on $.37/day $11.10
- At day 100 had 65-85lb lambs Total $46.90
Lambs sold for $180 ?$ 46.90 =133.10
We bought everything for this trial and I am doing it again right now. Lambs avg. between .65lbs and 1.20 lbs per day. If you have on farm hay and grain your numbers will be better. I bought wrapped hay at 19%.
This is just some info that I have worked on in the last 2 years. Your numbers on this program might not be the same, but hopefully this will get you thinking moving forward.
Lambing will and already has been in full swing and will continue all spring. It is important to make sure they get off to a good start. Mineral is an important factor. Making sure your ewes are getting enough mineral has a big impact on lively lambs. Another important factor is getting colostrum into the lambs. For a little over $2 per lamb you can give colostrum to help build immunity in your lambs. All stores carry a dry product that contains vitamins and immunoglobulins. With the good price of lambs, a little protection can help the profit column. Shawn
More and more there are small flocks of sheep and goats in our area. We are helping bigger flocks move forward to make money. We can help small ones as well. Through breeding season as well into lambing we can provide a feeding program to help you get the most out of your ewes.
We now have access to a small Ruminate Calculator. This gives us the ability to balance your ration for all stages of growth and lactation. This is beneficial for aggressive producers who want to get the most out of their ewes. We also carry Lambena for a complete creep or Pur-a-lamb for a protein supplement. Need help, give Jake or me a call.