Boost flock productivity with Bred Well Fed Well

29 April 2016

Buying a new ram is one of the most important decisions a sheep producer makes, as it impacts on potential operational efficiency for years.

The highly successful Bred Well Fed Well (BWFW) workshops are on again ahead of this year’s spring ram sales, to give producers additional knowledge, skills and tools to determine the traits they want to improve the productivity and profitability of their flocks.

The practical, one-day BWFW workshops are funded by Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) to help sheep producers combine genetics decision-making with ewe nutrition management to boost reproduction rates and productivity.

MLA’s General Manager Livestock Productivity, Dr Jane Weatherley, is encouraging breeders using Australian Sheep Breeding Values (ASBVs) to volunteer to host an on-farm workshop.

“The workshops can help prospective clients to understand how ASBV technology can help refine their ram buying decisions,” Dr Weatherley said.

“This helps to ensure they’re getting the best rams for their breeding objectives, and helps them set breeding objectives.”

The workshop also focuses on nutrition for ewes, including its impact on reproductive performance and flock profitability, and equipping participants with skills such as condition scoring and how to do a simple energy budget for their ewe flock.

The program is targeted at all sheep breeds and all sheep production regions of Australia.

Dr Weatherley said the workshops have been highly successful, with 100 per cent of participants saying they would recommend it to other producers.

“Bred Well Fed Well commenced in 2011 and almost 3500 producers have taken part,” Dr Weatherley said.

“Many participants felt the workshops had improved their understanding of ASBVs in ram selection and the importance of sheep nutrition.”

To host a workshop, breeders need to make available six to eight rams with ASBVs, and 15 to 20 sheep with varying condition scores, for the workshop deliverers to use in the hands-on practical demonstrations.

“There are many benefits for breeders in hosting a workshop,” Dr Weatherley said.

“Helping other producers understand ASBVs and how to select for traits ultimately boosts on-farm profitability and productivity, which benefits all sectors of the value chain.”

For more information about hosting a workshop contact Bred Well Fed Well co-ordinator Serina Hancock at S.Hancock@murdoch.edu.au or phone 0403 570 823.

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