In light of the challenges of assigning rams to lambs, we have developed an innovative solution by harnessing Dormer rams as follow-up rams to laparoscopic insemination within our stud program. This greatly simplifies the process, as Pedigree recognises the data from lambs produced by this crossbreeding as contributing to the ewe’s records. However, using a Meatmaster ram as a follow-up can lead to confusion as to the true parentage of the lamb. The result is that follow-up crossbred lambs, with their distinctive wool, are easily identifiable and recorded as “Not for registration”.

I compared the performance of pure Meatmaster lambs with that of the Dormer cross lambs over the past four months (1 Oct 2024 to 31 Jan 2024), with a specific focus on weaning weights, slaughter age, and carcass grades.

Our practice of faithfully slaughtering all cull lambs between 43-45kg means that we assume both breeds of lambs have similar slaughter weights. We currently use a 17% protein ration to compensate for the early fat deposition in our Meatmasters, with the choice between lighter slaughter or reducing fat by feeding more protein. However, extra protein is expensive. Our LANDRANI®️ LAMB product requires us to use growth stimulants and ionophore free feed, so our data is based on “clean” rations without the use of Ralgro, Zilmax, etc.

Weaning weight data (at weaning at an average of 60 days) shows a significant difference, with Dormer/Meatmaster cross lambs averaging 22.2kg, compared to the 19.8kg of pure Meatmaster lambs, a difference that equates to a 7% heavier weaning weight.

With regard to slaughter age, the Dormer/Meatmaster cross lambs were slaughtered at an average of 3.6 months, compared to the 4.2 months of pure Meatmaster lambs, indicating a reduction in the cost of metabolic energy loss of 18 days.

The ratings were as follows:

  • Dormer / Meatmaster cross lambs: 78% A2, 17% A3, and 6% A4.
  • Pure Meatmaster lambs: 58% A2, 39% A3, 2% A4, and 1% A5.

Due to the current size of our registered flock, we are forced to continuously slaughter a significant number of lambs for the commercial market. LANDRANI®️ LAMB is still young and still being built and cannot handle our production at this stage. We are also on a mission to breed the entire registered herd to SP and this requires that we only include Appendix C and SP lambs in the stud at this stage.

Given the above findings and realities, I decided to inseminate a group of the Appendix A recorded Meatmaster ewes with Dormer seed once for additional cross lambs, in addition to the lambs from the follow-on rams.

We then expect an equal number of lambs from both the pure and cross group and this will strengthen our data, as opposed to data only from the follow-up rams.

We only do this experiment because at LANDRANI®️ Meatmasters we are always willing to test the limits.

If this result is promising, it could be a solution to breed more profitable slaughter lambs in times when there is an oversupply of breeding animals in the market. You can anticipate the potential of the respective markets and plan your production exactly accordingly. And all this while you keep recording. Believe me, it’s much easier to slaughter a cross lamb than a registered Meatmaster.

I will keep you updated with the results of this experiment, which will unfortunately take a period of more than 8 months.

Enjoy your Meatmasters!

Regards
Pieter