Sheep for meat per acre per 100ml of rain

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Member for

6 years 10 months
Last seen: 03/08/2018 - 21:05
Joined: 06/27/2012 - 17:09

Sheep for meat per acre per 100ml of rain

Hi Everyone

Our aim is to move our family from the city rat race to the country.

I know there are many variables involved such as breed, soil, weeds, not to mention the price of meat but would appreciate a ballpark figure to see if our dream is even close to a reality.

I have read a bit about hectares needed for sheep per 100mm of rainfall.

If we are looking at buying a property in an area with average rainfall of 600mm per annum;

1. In your experience how many sheep (counting ewes only I suppose) could we sustain on 50 hectares of average land assuming the 600m per annum average rainfall? I know this comes down to how much feed can be obtained from the land but just looking for an average figure to start further research and guidance with.

2. Can 1 ram service 100 sheep?  What is the recommended limit or average ewes per ram?

Lastly I suppose I am trying to get a rough ballpark figure on gross profit (I know I am excluding all capital and variable costs to see if it is even profitable).

Through my research as a beginner I have estimated that a lamb at 5 months of age might weigh 40kg with a carcass weight of 19kg (depending on breed).

On current market trends can I assume that 19kg is about $65 approx but then do I add on the skin which might be $4 to $5 per lamb?

So I have worked it down to a current market rate of $70 as an approx figure per lamb. 

But how much is the sales agent/stock yard/ Meat Assoc costs per lamb? 

3. Basically what income figure per lamb should I be using as a ballpark figure to start calculating against my costs to see if my land size is even viable for a small farm?

Can someone check or correct my figures?

I really appreciate any help from those who take the time to answer. Thank you in advance and best wishes to all.

Macca

 


Last seen: 12/26/2018 - 09:21
Joined: 05/31/2011 - 09:44

Hi Macca,

Welcome to Farmstyle and thanks for the question.

1) Stocking rates as you are aware can be highly variable between unimproved native pastures (1-5 DSE) and improved pastures plus fertiliser (6-10 DSE). DSE or dry sheep equivalent is the most basic and simplest form of stock measurement to estimate your farms carrying capacity. The DSE measurement is based on one 50kg wether per hectare. The DSE ratings for ewes range from 1-3.2, with 3.2 being a ewe with twins at foot. A DSE rating of 1.5 is a good average rating for a merino ewe throughout the year.

For a farm with 600mm rainfall I would conservatively estimate a carrying capacity of 5DSE. Divide this by the ewe rating of 1.5DSE to equal 3.3 DSE. Multiple 3.3 by 50 hectares, gives 165 ewes.

2) One ram is enough for 100 ewes, however using only one ram is a big risk. I suggest you budget on two rams, put one ram out for the first 21 days and then the second ram as a back up for a further 14 days. Alternatively you could put both rams out together.

The income that you have estimated for lambs is close to the mark. Lamb is currently selling for $3.50/kg dressed weight. You only add the value of the skin on if you sell lambs over the hook or direct to the abattoir, this will be unlikely if you only have a small number. Lambs that get sold at the sale yards are usually done so on a dollars per head including the skin. 

The lamb you described (40kg at 5 months) would be a second cross lamb, these have faster growth rates (hybrid vigour) than the first cross lamb. The second cross lamb is produced from a first cross ewe (merino x meat breed)  with the ram joined to her 100% meat breed. A first cross ewe is larger and eats more grass than a merino ewe, in this case work on 1.8-2DSE as an average DSE rating.

I will look up the commission charges, cartage, yard dues, insurance and post them on another thread.

Regards,

Charlie

Last seen: 03/08/2018 - 21:05
Joined: 06/27/2012 - 17:09

Thank you Charlie for a great response. Much appreciated.  Great website!  Keep up the great work.

I will look out for you other thread on the fees.

Thank you again

Macca

Last seen: 12/26/2018 - 09:21
Joined: 05/31/2011 - 09:44

Hi Macca,

Further to my previous thread. Fees and charges for selling lambs at the saleyards are as follows:

  • Saleyard dues - charged by the owner of the saleyards, varys between $1.25-$1.50 per head depending on the saleyard and district. 
  • Transit insurance - protects livestock against damage, loss or theft during transit, 1.5-2% of gross sale. Cost of transit insurance varies according to the level of cover and premium.  
  • Transaction levy - charged for research and development, goes to Meat and Livestock Australia. 2% of gross sale price up to a maxium of $1.50 per head for lambs.
  • Commission - 3.5-5% of the gross sale. Sales without an livestck agent have no gaurantee of payment.
  • Transport - $3.50 -$4.00 per kilometre, or a minimum charge of $600 if you do not have enough livestock to fill the truck.
  • Weighing fees - only applicable for cattle, these vary for each saleyard and district.

Regards,

Charlie

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