Feedlot Meeting Targets Lamb Producers

Beth Ellen Doran, Extension Beef Program Specialist

Fiscal Year Submitted:

POW Title and Number:
183 - Other Animal Systems and Processing

Title of Success Story:
Feedlot Meeting Targets Lamb Producers

Problem Statement:
Lamb producers are continually seeking information to improve their profits.  Profits from lamb feeding depend on three major variables – purchase price of the feeder lamb, selling price of the market lamb and feed cost.  While the price of corn has stabilized, producers need to know how feed cost and feed conversion impact profitability continuously.  When lamb producers were surveyed in 2008 about information they would like to see presented in future meetings,  they indicated “continue on ways to control feed costs” and Improving feeding”  because of the need to stay profitable.

A Lamb Feedlot meeting was held in Orange City, IA on December 14, 2009 at the Sioux County Extension Office.  It was a collaborative effort with Iowa State University Extension, the Iowa Sheep and Wool Promotion Board, the Iowa Sheep Industry Association and the Northwest Iowa Sheep Producers Association.

Dr. Jeff Held, Extension Sheep Specialist at South Dakota State University, presented an update on the quality of the ’09 corn crop and expected lamb feedlot performance, focusing on lamb growth efficiency, cost of gain and the utilization of co-products in lamb diets.

Dr. Larry Holler, Professor of Veterinary Science at South Dakota State University, discussed nine common feedlot diseases in feedlot lambs.  He explained that prevention was the best route to avoid disease and shared tips on how to manage new arrivals of feeder lambs.

Despite a delayed harvest, 36 people attended the meeting, coming from five Iowa counties and Minnesota.  Six people represented ag-related businesses.  Three packets of information were requested after the meeting.  A follow-up article was featured in Agri-News, which is based at Rochester, MN.

Outcome Statement:
A survey of the participants was conducted 6 months post-meeting to determine changes in their knowledge and management practices.  More than 44% indicated that the information presented had improved the feed efficiency of their lambs.  Fifty-five percent of the participants stated the meeting helped them reduce the cost of their lamb rations.

To improve feed efficiency of the lambs, 44% of the participants had selected crossbred lambs because of their hybrid vigor for growth.  To reduce the cost of the lamb feedlot ration, 33% of the producers either replaced soybean meal in the diet with dried distillers grains or used soyhulls as a substitute for hay or grain in the ration.  These changes helped them reduce feed cost from $.05 to $.09 per pound of gain.

Forty-four percent of the producers cited that the meeting helped them improve the health of their feedlot lambs.  Recognizing the importance of prevention as was explained at the meeting, more than 22% of the participants now require incoming lambs to be vaccinated prior to feedlot arrival.  Over 55% stated they were using a coccidiostat when the lambs were initially placed in the feedlot as a preventative measure.   

While 33% of the participants indicated that economic impact of the meeting for them ranged up to $100 per enterprise, another 22% stated that the economic impact of the knowledge they gained ranged between $100 and $500 per enterprise.  The meeting directly impacted 36 participants, but there was a multiplier effect in that the information presented at the meeting was shared with another 32 people. 


183 - Other Animal Systems and Processing


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