Increasing productivity Ready RationsTM Pro by lindahy


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									 Increasing productivity
Kelvin Westbrook of Loxton has significantly
increased production in his feedlot by 58,800
lambs over the last 6 years. Improved
management, the ability to source
appropriate lambs and knowing the end
market have been the key factors in Kelvin’s
ability to successfully increase production.                 Photos courtesy of the Stock Journal.       Lambs are provided ad lib straw once on full
Kelvin started feed lotting lambs 7 years ago
with an annual output of 1,200 lambs. Today
                                                      The feedlot is generally emptied by the end        weeks after entering the feedlot. At this first
he is turning out 60,000 lambs per year and is
                                                      of September to avoid having lambs in the          weighing he aims to turnout 70% of lambs at
looking to achieve higher.
                                                      feedlot over the hotter months.                    the target weight. Lambs falling short of the
                                                                                                         cut off remain in the feedlot for up to a
The feedlot set up is very simple and consists
                                                      Upon entry to the feedlot, lambs are               further 3 weeks before being sold.
of approximately 60 pens of varying sizes,
                                                      drenched, vaccinated, given vitamins and
carrying an average of 300 lambs per pen.
                                                      minerals and shorn if required. During their       The major market targeted by Kelvin is Coles,
The current feedlot capacity is 20,000 lambs,
                                                      time in the feedlot lambs are handled as little    accounting for 80% of lambs put through the
which he is looking to increase by another
                                                      as possible to minimise stress.                    feedlot. The remaining 20% of lambs go to
5,000 lambs next year.
                                                                                                         TMC and T&R (heavier lambs) or Woodwoods
                                                      Lambs begin on a starter ration with ad lib        at Swan Hill (mostly merinos).
Preferred specifications for lambs entering
                                                      hay while grain is introduced. It takes 1-2
the feedlot are crossbred lambs minimum 32
                                                      weeks to build up to the full ration of            Since starting out seven years ago Kelvin has
kg live weight and averaging 35 kg, with good
                                                      agribusiness concentrate, lupins and barley.       made a number of changes to his feedlot
frames. Some merino lambs (approximately
                                                      Once on full rations ad lib straw is               operation, enabling him to increase
10% of throughput) are also finished through
                                                      substituted for hay. Occasionally orange peel      production and create a more efficient
the feedlot.
                                                      or potatoes are also fed to the lambs when         finishing system.
Kelvin normally starts buying lambs late
                                                                                                         By placing greater emphasis on the types of
October – early November. These lambs are
                                                      Kelvin is currently achieving growth rates of      lambs sourced to enter the feedlot and
put into paddocks until mid to late January
                                                      1.5 – 2 kg per week with a feed conversion         improved management, Kelvin has been able
when he starts filling the feedlot.
                                                      ratio of 6:1, he is hoping to reduce this to 5:1   to increase the percentage of lambs that
Lambs are sourced from across Australia
                                                      through improved nutrition.                        reach target market specifications and reduce
through commission buyers and locally by
                                                                                                         the time lambs spend in the feedlot.
Kelvin and his agent through sales and off
                                                      Kelvin aims to turnout lambs at 50-60 kg
properties. Kelvin is looking to increase the
                                                      liveweight and fat score 3-4. Lambs are            The key factors which Kelvin believes have
number of lambs bought on property and
                                                      individually weighed for the first time at 8-10    enabled him to successfully increase
establish more producer feeder-finisher
                                                                                                         production have been:
                                                                                                         1.   the ability to source the right lambs at
                                                                                                              the right price,
                                                                                                         2.   the liaisons established with Coles
                                                                                                              guaranteeing an end market and
                                                                                                         3.   the establishment of a good buying
                                                                                                              network to source lambs Australia wide.

                                                                                                         In the future Kelvin aims to improve nutrition
                                                                                                         and food conversion ratio and continue to
                                                                                                         increase the capacity of the feedlot to 40,000

The feedlot design is very simple. grain rations are provided in round self feeders                                                      Heidi Schuster

                                      Ready RationsTM Pro
                                      This scientifically based computer program lets the owner formulate cost effective rations for sheep and
                                      beef cattle. The rations can be prepared for supplementing pastures or full hand feeding. Taking into account
                                      the animal’s liveweight, sex, age and feeding requirements the program will work in a range of environments
                                      by using local feed test data and includes a feedlot module and a virtual fodder store.

                                      Ready Rations ™ Pro is quick and easy to use allowing rapid evaluation of alternative feeding strategies. It is
                                      ideal for drought feeding, commercial feedlots, finishing young stock and maintaining breeders through
                                      pregnancy and lactation.

                                      For further information, contact Ian Bryson, Rural Solutions SA, Keith office.

  Volume 26
  Sept. 2003
                        Page 10

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