For Producers

Lambs eating

For Producers


How do I book a slaughter date?

SunGold requires at least 2 to 3 weeks notice to schedule lambs for slaughter.  Hours of receiving are 7:30am to 3:30 pm. Monday to Thursday.  We will do our best to accommodate any number of lambs.  Animals need to be delivered the day before slaughter.   They will be weighed at the plant on our scale when unloading.   Please do some tests weights to avoid having high (over fat) or low (under finished) weights.

What is the ideal Live weight?

Depending on the breed, lambs should weigh 110 to 120 lbs live, with a dressing percentage of 47-48%,  which  depends on time of year and conditions of the lamb.   Animals also need to be fed a grain finishing ration for 45-60 days.  Grain feeding gives a more consistent finish, mild flavor and white fat that consumers prefer.

When should I take livestock off feed?

SunGold requires lambs to be taken off feed 24 hours before delivery.  This requirement is necessary to avoid full stomachs which can lead to condemnation on the slaughter floor, obstruction of stomach processing machine and other equipment.  Also, having empty stomachs will provide producers with a true yield. Undigested feed just ends up being an additional waste removal cost to SunGold and producers.

Does SunGold buy feeder lambs?

Yes. Feeder lambs are purchased on a live weight basis at the plant.  Prices will be established according to the weight of the feeders and what the current market is.  Feeder lambs also need two weeks notice for booking.

What are my payment Options?

There are two ways of payment.  Rail Base price, plus Premiums for Quality Characteristics (see Price Grid) or live weight for feeders only. The market conditions establish the Base Rail (Finished Lamb) and Live (Feeders) price according to supply and demand for lamb.  Feeder lambs are purchased on Live weight when weighed at the plant.  Finished lambs are purchased on a Rail Basis.  All lamb payments will be made in accordance to regulatory requirements. Live (Feeders) within 48 hours, rail grade (Finished) within 72 hours.

How does the Price Grid Premiums / Deductions affect my Net Rail Price?

The Price Grid is a combination of carcass weight, GR measurement (Fat cover) and cleanliness.  The GR measurement is the total tissue dept of the lamb carcass over the 12-13th rib, 11 cm from the backbone.  This is taken with a grading rule.  A deeper GR measurement indicates a fatter carcass. Optimum GR measurement is 5 mm to 11.9 mm.  Less than 5 mm is considered under finished and will be graded as a C lamb and are subject to a discount. More than 19 mm are over fat.  See below premiums and deductions.

August 2017 Update: Where is grading done in the Harvest process?

Starting in August 2017 SunGold will be grading at the hot dressed rail scale. This is consistent with grading locations performed in other countries. In Canada, historically lamb grading has been done in the carcass cooler after fat has set up for 20-40 minutes. In testing SunGold has determined the measurement at the scale compared to in the cooler is not significantly different.* Grading at the scale will be a more efficient process from a labour, equipment and systems standpoint.

* In testing only 3% of carcasses exhibited a different GR measurement of only 1mm.

August 2017 Update: I heard SunGold is using a new grading tool, what is it?

Also starting in August, SunGold is moving to a new grading tool that is more efficient and accurate at visually determining grades for lamb. This is a manual grading tool used in New Zealand that is visually simpler. We’ll be faster at grading and more accurate at assessing the grade breaks between YG1 and YG2, for example, or the breaks for YG3 and YG4.  This tool is also larger and can accommodate future grades if we want to differentiate extremely over-fat lamb, like those over 35mm fat cover.

August 2017 Update: What is the grid change that’s happening.

Concurrent with the grading adjustments in August 2017 we are dropping the distinction between a YG2A (12-15mm fat cover) with a YG2B (16-18mm fat cover).   Prior a YG2A had a $0.05 premium while the YG2B had no premium. Instead all YG2 will receive a $0.03 premium.

Additionally, we are moving the YG1 and YG2 break from 12mm to 13mm. This is more consistent with the historical Canadian grading system. This will provide more premium potential to producers that utilize the SunGold payment grid.

YG’s From (mm) To (mm) Premium/deductions
YG1 5 12.99 0.10
YG2 13 18.99 0.03
YG3 19.00 23.99 (0.15)
YG4 24.00 over (0.25)
C 0 4.99 (0.25)

The optimum weight range for Price Grid is 48.0 lbs to 57.9 lbs. See below premiums and deductions.

From (lbs) To (lbs) Premium/deductions
40.0 47.9 0.04
48.0 57.9 0.12
58.0 61.9 0.02
62.0 64.9
65.0 74.9 (0.15)
75.0 And up (0.25)

Lambs should be clean and dry as possible when delivered. CFIA inspectors can refuse to allow the slaughter of dirty animals. Sheep that are exceptionally dirty may have to be partially sheared before slaughter. The cost of shearing is deducted from the payment for the lambs. SunGold staff gives a Mud Score on every group of lambs from 1-3. 1 clean – 3 dirty. See below for premiums and deductions.

Mud Score Premium/deductions
Clean 0.02
Dirty (0.08)


Base Price 2.45
Weight range, 48.0 – 57.9 lbs 0.12
Mud Score 1 0.02
Total per lb 2.69

How does Rail Base Price work?

Rail pricing is the base rail price paid on individual carcass hot weight basis.  There is opportunity for premiums based on carcass weights, GR (fat cover) measurements and cleanliness. There will be deductions for overweight, overfat and dirty carcasses.  See below for deductions.

Carcass weights 65.0 lbs 75.0 lbs (.10)
Carcass weights 75.0 lbs And Up (0.20)
YG3 19.0 mm 23.99 (0.05)
YG4 24.0 mm up (.15)
C 0 mm 4.99 mm (.15)

Why Grade?

SunGold grades every lamb to meet retail and food service minimum requirements. This helps Improve consistent quality for target market growth. This is designed to reward producers exceeding basic quality requirements and allows SunGold to provide producers information about the quality of their livestock.

Livestock Pricing

For current livestock pricing please check out our online pricing guide.

Lamb Payment Grid

SunGold Specialty Meats Ltd.

For more information please call

Kurt Paskal: 1.403.505.1165

Cathy Krohn: 1.800.363.6602