Lamb fattening options

Been offered more keep and trying to work out what to put where (or what to buy). One block was drilled as turnips but is mostly just leaf, the other is fodder beet, a good crop but a bit weedy so they can’t be arsed to lift it. Would they fatten lambs ? I have grazed plenty of fodder beet with ewes and obviously a lot of turnips that were bulb and leaf. Just stuck 500 Welsh lambs onto the turnip leaf.
 

d-wales

Member
Location
Wales
I see beet more as a 'holding' crop for lambs due to the imbalance of protein to energy. Great as a crop for seeing ewes or ewe lambs through the winter very cheaply.

It's worked well for me in the past, putting a large group of lambs on the crop and drawing off everything that over a certain weight to finish on grass, once they have gone draw some more to put on the grass. And so on....
 

neilo

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
Montgomeryshire
I see beet more as a 'holding' crop for lambs due to the imbalance of protein to energy. Great as a crop for seeing ewes or ewe lambs through the winter very cheaply.

It's worked well for me in the past, putting a large group of lambs on the crop and drawing off everything that over a certain weight to finish on grass, once they have gone draw some more to put on the grass. And so on....

+1 Whenever I have grazed lambs on beet, they have just stood still, even with two day moves to ensure protein intake from the tops.

They would fatten well on the tops if you let them in the lot, but you’d be left with a field full of roots that would be a seriously deficient fodder source. I’m told that, if you make sheep eat just the roots (6-7% protein), they will be so severely deficient that intakes will fall off a cliff, so they end up getting a very low energy diet too.

I don’t suppose the leafy turnips are next door to the beet? Grazing both together, or on alternate days, would make for a cracking ration I would think.

Would the beet be worth lifting if you let lambs over the lot to clear the weeds & tops, then run them off before they hit the roots much?
 
Interesting ..... I tried an experiment last year and penned some lambs onto beet and they seemed to do ok but were almost ready and it finished them from what I remember.

But I get half the folk telling me it will grow frame but not fatten them and the other half saying it will fatten but not grow them.

But I think as you said I let them into the lot, so they probably fattened and then just sort of held on the roots.

It’s not my crop but I will speak to the man and see what he says.

And of course they are an hour from the turnip tops 😂

What are the assembled thoughts on the turnip tops ?
 
Interesting ..... I tried an experiment last year and penned some lambs onto beet and they seemed to do ok but were almost ready and it finished them from what I remember.

But I get half the folk telling me it will grow frame but not fatten them and the other half saying it will fatten but not grow them.

But I think as you said I let them into the lot, so they probably fattened and then just sort of held on the roots.

It’s not my crop but I will speak to the man and see what he says.

And of course they are an hour from the turnip tops 😂

What are the assembled thoughts on the turnip tops ?
There’s a lot of sheep now being used to graze beet rather than the beet being lifted and carried to the sheep. The price of fert has made this happen, fill it with sheep charge for the keep and save on the fert. Put some hoppers in and the sheep will do well. Snap the keep up and get him used to this system remind him how much he’s saving on fert and off what’s in the hoppers too.
The best way to make a pound is to find a way to make someone else two pounds
 
There’s a lot of sheep now being used to graze beet rather than the beet being lifted and carried to the sheep. The price of fert has made this happen, fill it with sheep charge for the keep and save on the fert. Put some hoppers in and the sheep will do well. Snap the keep up and get him used to this system remind him how much he’s saving on fert and off what’s in the hoppers too.
The best way to make a pound is to find a way to make someone else two pounds

Just to clarify it’s not my beet, it’s been grown by the chap I usually buy my (lifted) beet from, he’s just saying this year it ain’t worth lifting. I don’t know why it’s not worth lifting ?

With regard to hoppers ...... it’s not really my thing. I was drawing lambs today and killed almost half fit off grass today in mid December. These lambs tend to do well on most things, and I’ve never fed a fattening lamb in my life.
 
Just to clarify it’s not my beet, it’s been grown by the chap I usually buy my (lifted) beet from, he’s just saying this year it ain’t worth lifting. I don’t know why it’s not worth lifting ?

With regard to hoppers ...... it’s not really my thing. I was drawing lambs today and killed almost half fit off grass today in mid December. These lambs tend to do well on most things, and I’ve never fed a fattening lamb in my life.
Yes I understand it’s not your beet. The beet will need some protein added to the diet and hoppers would be your best bet to make use of the beet.
 

Humble Village Farmer

Member
NFFN Member
Location
Cb97ej
Just to clarify it’s not my beet, it’s been grown by the chap I usually buy my (lifted) beet from, he’s just saying this year it ain’t worth lifting. I don’t know why it’s not worth lifting ?

With regard to hoppers ...... it’s not really my thing. I was drawing lambs today and killed almost half fit off grass today in mid December. These lambs tend to do well on most things, and I’ve never fed a fattening lamb in my life.
It should be with the price of barley. There seems to be a good crop this year.
 
Yes I understand it’s not your beet. The beet will need some protein added to the diet and hoppers would be your best bet to make use of the beet.
Agreed you are probably right. I’m just trying to look for options where I don’t need to cake anything. Annoyingly if I’d known earlier I’d have put ewes on to tup but my rams have only been out two weeks. Or I’d have taken tackers for it but all my tack sheep this year are fattening lambs.
 
Agreed you are probably right. I’m just trying to look for options where I don’t need to cake anything. Annoyingly if I’d known earlier I’d have put ewes on to tup but my rams have only been out two weeks. Or I’d have taken tackers for it but all my tack sheep this year are fattening lambs.
I wouldn’t be in too much fear of the sums not adding up for you. We fatten sheep on hoppers and spread bought in beet in the fields for them. Sometimes it’s not that easy in a bad year to get it to add up but you have a head start
 

neilo

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
Montgomeryshire
Interesting ..... I tried an experiment last year and penned some lambs onto beet and they seemed to do ok but were almost ready and it finished them from what I remember.

But I get half the folk telling me it will grow frame but not fatten them and the other half saying it will fatten but not grow them.

But I think as you said I let them into the lot, so they probably fattened and then just sort of held on the roots.

It’s not my crop but I will speak to the man and see what he says.

And of course they are an hour from the turnip tops 😂

What are the assembled thoughts on the turnip tops ?

IME it won’t fatten them OR grow frame, it just holds them.

If you look on Beef & Lamb NZ you will find some trials they did with lambs on beet. Iirc they managed to get growth rates of about 100g/day.:(

Beet tops will fatten lambs well though, as they have been used for historically. Just be prepared to leave a lot behind (ok if it’s free/very cheap?).

I put my single bearing ewes on a field of beet that had already been strip grazed after scanning last year, then ran over it a few times with a scuffle to bring bits of root up. It kept them suitably slim before lambing, for next to nothing. It works well as a ‘condition reducing ration’.
 

neilo

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
Montgomeryshire
Doesn’t take many acres a year to make a old single/ double row harvester look a good purchase

Well yes… if you have a spare tractor to haul the trailers. I’d have to constantly unhitch the harvester to tip the trailer, then swap back.

Much better to utilise the whole crop in situ if you can, with th3 tops being a very valuable part of it.👍
 

neilo

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
Montgomeryshire
Doesn’t take many acres a year to make a old single/ double row harvester look a good purchase

I haven’t lifted any in the last two years, but I should perhaps point out that my contractor (& the only one locally) has an ageing TIM machine. We only normally lift the odd 5ac of surplus beet and he always has at least one breakdown, sometimes two, doing that little bit.
Such is the joy of running a cheap, well worn machine. ;)
 
Last year I wintered the ewes in late winter on bales and tipped beet on a field of turnips they had grazed down. Worked very well. However it was only really economically and logistically viable because my hay and beet supplier are mates and brought a load a week and placed bales and spread beet in the field for me as part of the deal.
 

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