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The optimum slaughter weight for different ewe mature sizes

Kennedy, A.J., Ferguson, M.B., Martin, G.B., Thompson, A.N.ORCID: 0000-0001-7121-7459 and Pannell, D.J. (2012) The optimum slaughter weight for different ewe mature sizes. In: Proceeding of the LambEx 2012 Conference, 28 - 29 June, Bendigo, Vic, Australia p. 57.

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Lamb producers have the option to market lambs at a range of slaughter weights. However, there are limited price premiums for heavier carcasses on a per kilogram basis. Any economic advantage of heavy lambs is realised by extra weight and not price. Both genetic and on-farm factors contribute to extra weight gain. Firstly, lamb weight and growth is correlated to its mature size and lambs from larger parents grow faster and reach heavier weights, but also have greater feed requirements. Secondly, stocking and reproductive rate account for the majority of variation in whole-farm profit, but increasing these also increases feed requirements. The production of heavy lambs is therefore a trade-off with maximising stocking and reproductive rate within the pool of available feed resources. We hypothesise that slaughter weight does not increase with mature size, due to the priority to increase stocking and reproductive rate for profit maximisation.

Item Type: Conference Paper
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences
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