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Southern Australia 2019

The Southern Livestock Advisor Updates workshop was held in Sydney on 21 August with over 40 livestock industry advisors and professionals in attendance. Presentation details are available below. View our Sydney event overview infographic.

Designing effective strategies to manage increased climate variability

John Francis, Holmes Sackett and Basil Doonan, Macquarie Franklin

Key messages:

  1. No need for a change in strategy
  2. Tactical management becomes more important
  3. It’s typically indecision that costs
  4. The more hard decisions you make the easier hard decisions become to make – be prepared for difficult conversations and actions
  5. Stick with economic theory - destock tactics are more powerful than feeding tactics
  6. Focus:
  • Design a robust business
  • Beware of associative relationships (a lot of the things the most profitable businesses do, are because they are profitable not to get profitable)

Useful tactics

  • Useful tactics
  • Whole of farm models or assessment
  • Use scenario analysis - compare different options
  • Monitoring (e.g. impact of decisions on feed supply, animal condition/performance, etc)
  • Destock/supplement/bodyweight policy

 Useful resources

Forecast secrets for informed decisions

Alister Hawksford, Bureau of Meteorology

Key forecast secrets

  • Forecast interpretability is critical to good decision making – understand the product
  • 7-day rainfall forecasts are misinterpreted >90% of the time
  • Assess the historical skill whenever using seasonal forecasts

Useful resources

In other news, the Climate Outlooks tool has been updated in the past couple of weeks to now include weekly and fortnightly forecasts. 

Genetic profiling tools for commercial sheep and beef producers

Tom Granleese, University of New England (pictured) and Caris Jones, MLA

Key messages

  • What is an EBV – a tool to accurately evaluate genetics merit
  • Sourcing sires – progress relies on the sourcing stud and having a clear breeding objective for the commercial flock/herd
  • Benchmarking tools – will help to improve genetic gain (by tracking position, direction, rate of progress
  • Approaching a sale – preparation is key

Useful resources

Profitable Grazing Systems insight - Pasture Principles: what, how and why

Jason Lynch, Macquarie Franklin and Piers Dumaresq, Mout Ireh Estate

Key messages

  • Overview of coaching a group of producers to improve their ability to meet animal nutritional requirements. This presentation focused on the effective dissemination of information so participants change or adopt new practices.
  • Keep reinforcing the fundamentals
  • Provide participants with examples of skills and opportunities to practice them
  • Provide pathways to achieving practice change
  • Simple solutions are best – complexity results in lack of confidence, poor learning outcomes and limited practice change
  • Nurture group dynamics

More information

ASKBILL – forecasts to assist sheep management decisions

Lu Hogan, University of New England

Key messages

  • Prediction of what is coming – using the best weather data available
  • Not perfect
  • but will improve current decision making
  • validation data to improve models and predictions
  • Information is “KING” – plan and respond before the impact

 More information

Condition Score recommendations for maternal flocks

John Young, Farming Systems Analysis

Key messages

  • CS at lambing is the key target
  • Targets:
  1. Single bearing ewes should be lambed at condition score 3.0 to 3.1.
  2. Multiple bearing ewes should be lambed at condition score 3.3 to 3.5.
  3. Condition score at joining can be as volunteered from stocking rate and seasonal conditions provided the lambing target can be achieved.

Note: The targets cannot be achieved without scanning

Additional resources