How to power your flock’s productivity

24 June 2016

It can be easier to find time to fix a fence than it is to find time for business analysis. However, according to sheep consultant Megan Rogers, short workshops and seminars, such as next month’s MLA-funded Bred Well Fed Well sessions in central NSW, can be far more valuable in terms of business profitability.

“They give producers the time, skills and confidence to think critically about their business, identify and clarify their breeding objectives and earmark areas for improvement,” she said.

Megan, and fellow consultant Dr Jason Trompf, are presenting one-day workshops at Peak Hill and Canowindra in July.

Here, Megan outlines how they will empower producers to make changes to their enterprises to lift productivity and profitability:

  • By focusing on their business, to consider how their gross income is divided between meat and wool and to think critically about what their animals are doing for them.
  • By identifying areas for improvement and formulating a breeding objective.
  • Then learning about the tools and knowledge available to help make the best ram-buying decisions for their enterprise.

Bred Well

The workshops have a strong hands-on component with ewes and rams on site to support discussions on visual assessment, functionality, condition scoring and which traits can be ‘seen’ or are best measured by Australian Sheep Breeding Values (ASBVs).

“We spend considerable time on the practical application of ASBVs in ram-buying decisions, how to prioritise traits and how to formalise a breeding objective for producers own businesses,” Megan said.

“We have a Bred Well Fed Well Decision Support Tool to hone these skills, for all types of sheep, and everyone takes home their own breeding objective on this tool.

“Not everyone needs a ram in the top 5% for every trait and knowing which traits are really important to your goals and which ones you’re content to have only moderate genetic progress in can really help when sticking to a budget.”

Megan said understanding ASBVs and how to use them is an important skill for producers who wish to use them to select rams for their breeding program.

“ASBVs take out the environmental noise from a sheep’s genetic potential,” she said.

“For example, consider ram lambs that are twins, triplets or out of maiden ewes, they are generally smaller. A visual assessment provides a very poor guide to their progeny’s birth weight or growth rate potential.”

Fed Well

The Fed Well portion of the workshop will cover how to body condition score ewes, understand ewes’ energy requirements at different times during the year and how nutrition can be influenced to improve reproduction, lamb survival and weaning rates.

Workshop information

  • Canowindra- 8 July at “Winyar Merinos”, 3809 Belubula Way, Canowindra, NSW. 9am to 3pm. Contact Allan and Susan Dawson T: 02 6344 1653 E: winyar@bigpond.com

Contact Megan Rogers T: 0427 459 891 E: megan@sheepsmart.com.au

Tools

http://www.mla.com.au/News-and-events/Industry-news/Four-steps-to-finding-the-right-ram

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