‘Future Proofing your Sheep Enterprise’ conference - Maximising market returns

George Williamson
George Williamson

The ‘Future Proofing your Sheep Enterprise’ conference is shaping up to be a must attend event for all in the sheep industry.

The conference will take place on Wednesday 2nd October in Greenmount Campus CAFRE and Thursday 3rd October in Silverbirch Hotel, Omagh.

This evening conference jointly organised by CAFRE, Ulster Farmers’ Union, LMC, AFBI, NSA and NIMEA, will focus on a number of topics including ‘maximising market returns’.

Making changes at farm level to ensure that producers are maximising market returns has never been more important, with current deadweight prices running behind previous years and the ongoing uncertainty around potential market outlets for Northern Ireland lambs following Brexit.

There are approximately 800,000 lambs produced for slaughter in Northern Ireland every year with half slaughtered locally and the other half exported to Republic of Ireland for direct slaughter. Two main challenges for the lamb sector are maintaining the production of high-quality meat that fulfils current market specifications and the second is to ensure sheep farming is financially viable.

When producing lambs the starting point, ironically, should be considering the end-point. Producers should ask themselves: Who will be buying the lambs? How will they be marketed? When do they need to be ready by? What type of lamb is required?

George Williamson, agricultural manager with the Dunbia group, is a keynote speaker for the 2019 sheep conference.

He said: “When it comes to delivering an ideal lamb carcase that meets market specifications in terms of both weight and fat cover the ball is firmly in the producer’s court. Regular weighing of lambs and handling for fat cover is an essential part of the sheep farmer’s routine and selecting lambs based on this is central to maximizing the value of your lamb output.”

For lambs going direct to slaughter the target is a 21kg carcase at this time of year and with limited market outlets for heavy lambs allowing lambs to go overweight makes no economic sense. Lambs should be sold when they are ready and the key to maximising market returns is efficiently producing the type of lamb the market really wants and is willing to pay the most money for.

How to Book your Place?

Interest in this event is anticipated to be very high so if you want to be guaranteed a place then you need to book early. Conference cost is £15 per person and includes a light supper.

Booking is via the UFU website www.ufuni.org/events.

If you have difficulty booking online, please contact Angela Scott at UFU HQ on 028 9037 0222. Note: Places cannot be reserved and payment in full is required at the time of booking by credit or debit card.