Organic lamb production: Part Two

In the previous article, we touched on the introductory part of organic production, specifically familiarization with the material and obtaining certification. Here we will focus on specific care and production.

Transition of the herd from inorganic to organic

It should be emphasized that it is possible for non-organically raised sheep to produce organic lambs. In order for a flock of sheep to be officially considered organic, it must comply with the following:

  • Possession of unique individual animal identification
  • switching to certified organic food, mat and accessories
  • 0% exposure to prohibited preparations against parasites
  • 0% exposure to antibiotics
  • Pasture or forage feeding with consecutive three-year organic management practices.
Photo: Pixabay

Production costs

Switching to organic production requires switching to mixed sheep farming. Producing more than one product for sale can reduce financial risk and previous economies of scale. If all the food cannot be obtained, the same land base will not support the same number of sheep.

Input costs for this type of production are high due to limited supplies of certified organic feed and supplements. An economically easier solution for livestock farmers can be grass-fed lambs, lambed at the beginning of the year, which can be in pastures until they reach a certain body mass. Production costs are covered by the high price of organic necks. Some manufacturers in Serbia, they are already successfully placing organically certified sheep on the market, and the sale completely covers the costs.

Sheep farming

Current market

Organic goods are more in demand today than ever. The state provides subsidies for organic animal husbandry, and almost 25,000 hectares were under organic production last year. At the same time, more and more young people are interested in this type of cultivation, since the yields are healthier, more natural and do not contain harmful elements.

However, despite this favorable situation, a potential organic sheep breeder must ask himself several key questions:

  • Who is my target audience?
  • Will there be enough buyers in the market to cover the production costs?
  • Is my customer ready to pay more for organic throat?
  • How will I reach new customers?
  • What specific type of goods does my customer want?
  • What are my customer’s requests for lamb?
  • How can I deal with price variations?
  • Who are my competitors and how do they do business?
  • Is there a certified organic meat processor nearby that I can work with?
  • What is the price of processing organic lamb?

All this is done by market research, which does not stop even after several decades of doing this type of cultivation. In parallel with new discoveries in organic production, the grower must also be familiar with market trends and modern marketing of products.

renewal of agricultural farm registration

Organic herd nutrition

Before using any new food, supplement or additive, manufacturers must consult with the certification agency. Any food that has been genetically modified is strictly prohibited. All food must have proper certification, unless the agency allows otherwise in extraordinary conditions.

Milk substitutes made from organic ingredients are hard to find. The profession recommends whole milk for feeding motherless lambs. Drinking water must undergo rigorous screening to determine the presence or absence of contaminants; the nitrate level in the water must be less than 10 mg/l.

A real problem with lameness in sheep

Health Care

During cultivation, the organic farmer is encouraged to:

  • ensure a balanced diet
  • ensure young animals receive colostrum for passive immunity
  • maintains a closed herd, or limits the number of head to be added to the herd
  • improve health by reducing stress.

Vaccination is allowed only for diseases that cannot be regulated otherwise. Treatments must be recorded. The breakdown of vaccines in the body takes a long time, often twice as long as the manufacturer recommends. Medicines in food and water must not be routinely used.

To be continued…

Source: (ref. )

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