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Are the principles of Life Time Ewe Management (LTEM) applicable to pastoral areas?

Posted by Bestprac on Mar 01 2012

Yes.

Will pastoral sheep producers benefit from participation in a LTEM group? Again yes.

In both the pastoral areas and the areas where LTEM was developed, and with which it is more commonly associated, there are at least two important similarities that explain why LTEM will work.

In both areas people, like you, make the decisions which impact directly on how many lambs they mark and raise and in both areas people are striving to improve their sheep reproduction rates. Sure, the program has to be tweaked by the group facilitator to make it locally relevant but that is part of the reason why they are employed.

The Traprock LTEM group has recently completed its first year. Mr Andy Ferrier, a member of the group, commented that, “To maintain our interest LTEM had to be locally relevant and it is imperative that the facilitator had local knowledge.” Mr Ferrier operates a self-replacing organic prime lamb enterprise, a superfine wool growing enterprise using purchased Merino wethers and also Mallow Organic Lamb at ‘Mallow’ which is located west of Stanthorpe in Queensland.

Distance in the pastoral areas is always a problem for group based activities and with nearly 100 kilometres between members in the Traprock group, distance was also an early obstacle. The group’s simple solution was to reduce the number of properties visited at each meeting on a rotational basis. Members not visited collected the required measurements of ewe condition score and feed on offer before the meeting. These measurements were then used in the calculations and discussions.

Mr Ferrier said, “The process worked well. We were getting back to our properties every second meeting. This allowed our measurements to be checked on a regular basis and the skills required to be well honed.”

Knowing how much feed is on offer seems to be an initial obstacle for many people. The estimation of feed on offer relies of measured photo standards and these are readily available now for most, if not all, districts. Other methods are also available but the photo standards provide the necessary level of precision and are a good source of discussion.

Getting producers together to work on a common problem offers real benefits. Of course, not every member can get to every meeting, but the Traprock group’s solution was to make attending the meetings a priority and dates for the next meeting were negotiated before the participants went home. With a little give and take this was more than satisfactory. When members could not attend a meeting they were kept up to date by the facilitator and other members.

The Traprock group in its first year had members in and out of hospital, on a second honeymoon, one having a baby, an outbreak of whooping cough as well as the normal challenges and commitments of running a property, but the group completed their first year, made improvements and changes to their sheep reproduction program and are reaping the rewards with more lambs. You can too!

Mr Ferrier summarised, “LTEM is an opportunity. In the pastoral zone it will have a few more challenges but these can be overcome. On our property we learned a lot about our sheep and how responsive they were to management changes. We wouldn’t know these results without participating in Life Time Ewe Management. I am a supporter of the program.”

Noel O’ Dempsey 0746531441 odempsn@harboursat.com.au or 

Visit the Lifetime Ewe Management website
 

Last changed: Mar 02 2012

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