All about adding value

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Bob GarnantCountryman
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Sheep Innovation Day host Craig Heggaton explained his sheep feedlot enterprise to a large crowd of visitors.
Camera IconSheep Innovation Day host Craig Heggaton explained his sheep feedlot enterprise to a large crowd of visitors. Credit: Countryman

A high-performance sheep enterprise has valued-added lamb production to produce a 48kg liveweight lamb off 30 days in a feedlot.

Breeders BEST genetics stud co-principal Craig Heggaton told visitors at the Sheep Innovation Day last Thursday that performance from sheep produced in a feedlot required a high-energy ration.

Kojonup Feeds, which he co-owns, supplies a starter pellet ration with lower starch content, which was suitable for feedlot entry between the first five days.

“We then feed a finisher pellet with 16 per cent protein and 12 megajoules of energy, which is topped up in the feeder once every week,” Dr Heggarton said.

“We aim for 400 grams per day growth, but with our high-performance genetics, we have some that put on up to 900 grams per day.”

Dr Heggaton said he set up the feedlot with lanes leading to the sheep yards and an undercover processing facility.

“We use an auto-drafter and one person can put through 800 sheep a day with a dog,” he said.

“We think our feedlot is an efficient system, adding to our overall enterprise — we will market half of our lambs off high-production grass paddocks as suckers at 22kg and the other half are backgrounded on our faba bean stubbles before they go into the feedlot for 30 days.”

WA Meat Marketing Co-operative supply and development manager Rob Davidson said WAMMCO required a wide spread of weight range lambs 52 weeks of the year.

“We supply heavy weight carcases to North America and we have markets that take lighter weights from 18kg carcase weight and up,” he said.

“Not every lamb should go in a feedlot — producers need to work out what genetic animals are best suited for feeding.”

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