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Bred Well Fed Well campaign gets underway in Qld

Posted by Bestprac on Feb 05 2012

By Lloyd Dunlop, Lamb Consultant, Goondiwindi

The management of genetics and nutrition of our ewes and that they are “Bred Well and Fed Well” was the main topic of discussion attended by 40 sheep producers from NSW and Qld, at Goondiwindi last Thursday 9/12/2010, at the Goondiwindi Training and Technology Centre.

“Prices have never been better for sheep and lambs” according to Hamish Chandler of Sheep Genetics Australia (SGA), jointly funded by AWI and MLA.

“All national flocks are in decline across the world except for the non export flocks of China and India.” he said. Countries he cited were Australia, NZ, South Africa, USA, Russia, and Europe all with falling sheep inventories while the demand for mutton remains constant and lamb is increasing. “We hope the flock will stabilise at 70 million sheep or about 40 million ewes, so that we can service this demand” he said.

Producers came from everywhere to hear the leader of the “Bred Well Fed Well” Project, Jason Trompf from JT Agri-source Mill Park Victoria, to spell out the importance of condition scoring ewes. “Knowing these scores, on a scale of 1 (poor) to 5 (fat), is essential”, he said. “Research shows for every increment of 1 condition score at least another 20 lambs are marked per 100 ewes joined. One client study in Victoria showed a figure up to 60 extra lambs per 100 ewes joined, for only one condition score lift at joining.” “It’s a straight line relationship” he said. “This means score 5 ewes at joining will have the best marking percentages. The story that over fat ewes don’t mate and lamb well is a myth”, he said.

Most merino ewes, across Australia, only average 2.5 – 3.0 score, with lambings as poor as 73 - 84% in 1990 – 1999, compared to the 10 years 2000 – 2009, when the range was 74% to 85% lamb markings”. No change in 20 years of data. He reasoned that advances can be made by lifting condition scores at joining. This can be done by using rams with better genetics from SGA data, feeding ewes wisely, and managing condition scores of the mob upwards approaching joining time, using shorter joinings of 6 weeks and early weaning at 3 months.

Producers came from Barraba in NSW to Cunnamulla in Queensland to hear the presentation. They were later invited to join local “Life Time Ewe Management” Groups if they wished to learn condition scoring and to benchmark their results with peers, interested in making more money out of sheep, under the guidance of an experienced facilitator.

The day was organised by the Leading Sheep committee of Southern Qld.
Contact Noel O’Dempsey (07) 4653-1441 if you want to join a group.

Last changed: Feb 06 2012



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