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BredWell FedWell: Could you be our next host?

05 July 2023

BredWell FedWell (BWFW) is a practical, one-day introductory workshop on how productivity and profitability can be improved through good breeding and feeding.  

On the back of a decade of success, MLA redeveloped the BWFW workshops to reflect evolving best practice genetics and nutrition management. The revised program developed through the review process has been refined after piloting and is being rolled out nationally via a network of trained and approved deliverers.

Producers can use the outcomes of the workshop to develop a genetics and nutrition regime suited to their environment and markets to boost profitability.

BWFW workshops are informative, interactive and individualised with on-farm activities aimed to improve the knowledge and skills of producers so they can:

  • develop a customised breeding plan for their livestock enterprise aligned to their profit drivers
  • identify sires and select animals that help them meet their objectives
  • feed animals well to achieve their objectives and maximise their genetic investment.

So far, BWFW has delivered $17.2 million in total net benefits to participating producers as a result of workshops delivered between 2015–2021.

Participants can expect an average annual net benefit of $2.48/ewe joined for sheep producers, and $2.98/cow mated for beef producers.

Host a BWFW workshop on your property

In 2017, Nicole Hayes and her husband Ben attended the MLA Ambassadors for the Red Meat Industry program in Alice Springs where they were handed a brochure on workshops for producers managing southern cattle.

The pair were looking for tools to help make their bull selection easier and improve their knowledge of their bulls Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs), so they were keen to get involved.

“I saw the BWFW workshop and in 2019 I put my hand up to host the northern cattle version; however, due to COVID, it was put on hold,” Nicole said.

“It wasn’t until the workshops were reintroduced that MLA contacted us to ask if we were still interested to which we gave an energetic ‘yes’.”

After reading through the guidelines and communicating with the deliverer, Nicole and Ben got to work on selecting six similar bulls and providing their BREEDPLAN EBVs data to the deliverer.

“There were other tasks involved such as setting up portable yards close to homestead, providing seating, food and toilets and promoting the event through social media,” Nicole said.

According to Nicole, the learning outcome of the experience outweighed the odd jobs they were required to do as hosts.

“It was especially helpful to be able to simply focus on what the deliverer was saying instead of also considering how it would apply back home,” she said.

“Having our own selection of bulls in our own environment also allowed us to really take out the physical attributes and focus on their EBV which is something we plan to utilise during upcoming bull sales to help our decision-making process.”

After going through the workshop, Nicole said that she and Ben also learnt that their breeding objective didn’t actually align with their herd goals.

“While we did breed year-round, we didn’t have a perfect understanding of when feed requirements were higher in females and which seasons were most beneficial when moving cattle around.

“Hosting the workshop really allowed us to get a better understanding of our young female’s needs and how to set them up for success.” 

According to Nicole, having a workshop that caters to your stock and environment was definitely a perk and allowed them to make the most of the important information the BWFW deliverer was supplying.

“If no one in your area is hosting, then I recommend putting your hand up – not only will you learn something, but it’s a great opportunity to connect with producers in your area.”  

Host requirements

Workshops typically run from 8:30am to 4:30pm with morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea included.

Key tasks requested by the host include preparation of sires in appropriate pens, providing ASBVs/BREEDPLAN EBVs for these sires, and ensuring appropriate facilities, equipment and catering is available for the day.

Hosts are welcome to provide an overview of their property and business should they wish to do so – they may also be engaged in conversation by the deliverer during the workshop to illustrate key points.

Supporting organisations may choose to support BWFW workshops through facilitating logistics or financial sponsorship of the workshop.