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ARTICLES >> Livestock Articles

50 000 reasons to make every lamb count

Posted by Bestprac on Apr 07 2010

.. as the breeding component of the flock continues to drop, producers must make every lamb count.."

Forecasts predict a good year ahead for the Australian sheep industry, but as the breeding component of the flock continues to drop, producers must make every lamb count to ensure the future success of the industry.

Meat & Livestock Australia’s (MLA) Sheep Research and Development Manager, Dr Alex Ball said the ability to confidently manage and optimise a breeding flock could lead to productivity improvements amounting to $50,000 per enterprise.*

“After two years of participating in Lifetime Ewe Management (LTEM) producers demonstrated an average benefit of $50 per hectare. That included increased lambs weaned ($23.90), stocking rate and ewe wool increases worth $18.70, reductions in ewe mortality ($5.70), and better wool from Merino lambs ($1.10).”

“The Lifetime Ewe Management program delivered by Rural Industries Skill Training (RIST) in association with the Sheep CRC and its partners provides producers with the tools and skills to increase stocking rates, wean more lambs per hectare and decrease ewe mortality,” Dr Ball said.

“By developing and implementing practical technologies and management practices that improve reproductive efficiency, producers will be rewarded for more kilogram of lamb per hectare,” Dr Ball explained.

With higher ewe prices and demand for mutton resulting in additional depreciation costs for ewes, Dr Ball said there is also extra incentive for producers to join ewe lambs to “get that extra year of production.”

“A key aspect of the Lifetime Ewe Management program is that it is linked to critical stages in the management of the ewe’s reproductive cycle to provide participants with a more holistic approach to boost reproduction efficiency,” Dr Ball said.

However, Dr Ball said while Lifetime Ewe Management provides a yearly plan for improving management, longer term issues should also be considered to ensure continual growth and improvement.

“Utilising rams with known Australian Sheep Breeding Values (ASBVs) that match your target markets to carefully manage the flock’s performance – and ensuring your flock structure is in good shape by breeding replacements and optimising the structure - are two key areas to focus your longer term management decisions on,” Dr Ball said.

Lifetime Ewe Management training is delivered over six hands-on sessions over a year, is FarmReady accredited and offered nationally through a network of private consultants and government advisors. It is designed to help participants improve their understanding of the impacts of ewe nutrition on ewe and progeny performance.

Other resources to boost production include MLA’s 45 x 7 Tips & Tools – Joining ewe lambs for more profit which can be ordered online at www.mla.com.au/publications.

 

Last changed: Feb 08 2012

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