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Beyond the Bale : March 2015
40 ON FARM Pastoral Profit is a new extension program which directly addresses the challenges posed by many pastoral livestock producers. It will target producers’ business management skills to improve their bottom lines, by creating tailored resources for the pastoral zone that take into account the large distances to regional centres. The program is funded by AWI and Meat & Livestock Australia and is for wool, sheep meat and beef cattle producers. Pastoral Profit replaces AWI's investment in the Bestprac network and will operate in the southern pastoral zone, which includes southern Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia and south Western Australia. Woolgrower and Pastoral Profit advocate Alex Morgan, from Outalpa Station via Olary in South Australia, knows first-hand how enhanced business management skills lead to more informed decision making and consequently to greater business success. “I am excited to be involved with Pastoral Profit because I believe it will be a great program and resource that we can use to help improve our business as a whole,” Alex says. Alex with her husband James and son Ed run Poll Merinos for dual purpose. Their business has overcome challenging circumstances of climate and markets. They credit business management, particularly investment in infrastructure and financial management, as key aspects of their profitability. Pastoral Profit will deliver training to build on the existing skills of pastoralists, and encourage adoption of new business management skills that are applicable to their region and situation. The program will deliver the following activities: 1. AWARENESS ACTIVITIES To help pastoral producers identify areas of need. 2. TRAINING ACTIVITIES To provide a foundation of the skills necessary to build business analysis and management. 3. IMPLEMENTATION ACTIVITIES Complementary to the previous activities, likely to be conducted in a series to support producers through to adoption. The program will also integrate and partner with existing programs or businesses, such as Making More From Sheep and Lifetime Ewe Management, to deliver value-added opportunities for producers. ABOVE Alex Morgan, who runs Outalpa Station via Olary in South Australia with her son Ed and husband James, is an advocate of the new Pastoral Profit program. PASTORAL PROFIT FOR MIXED GRAZING PRODUCERS Aflock singularly bred for lower worms since 1987 and more recently dags, has been an important resource in the work to breed for increased animal health and resistance to worms. The average ASBV for faecal worm egg count at yearling age of the 2013 drop rams in this flock is an extreme -77, its dag ASBV is -0.2. The flock has a Dual Purpose Plus index of +125, which is below average for today’s medium Merino type (+134) due to its predominant selection on worms since 1987. As there is a favourable genetic correlation between fat and worm egg count, and between muscle and worm egg count, selecting for low worm egg count has resulted in a favourable response in muscle and subcutaneous fat. The Rylington Flock average ASBV for fat +0.5 and muscle +1.3 are both high – see the photo of ewes in autumn in WA to the left. The flock is the creation of Dr John Karlsson who in his mid-70s has recently retired from DAFWA. His involvement in developing the Rylington Merino flock has made a huge contribution to our knowledge to breed for worm resistance. This flock has demonstrated what can be achieved and has resulted in many ram breeders adopting this technology in their breeding programs. We thank him for his dedication to the Merino industry and wish him all the very best for his retirement on his own farm. The 2013 MERINOSELECT Super Fine Merino Type average ASBV for worm egg count has fallen to -11 and the Fine Medium Merino Type worm egg count to -24. There are individual studs now in the minus 30s that report having reduced the number of drenches per year by a third. RYLINGTON FLOCK The Rylington flock has been selected for low faecal worm egg count (WEC) from 1987, and also for reduced dags from 2000. The flock has provided the industry with an important resource to better understand causes of scouring and breeding for worm resistance and lower dags. Worm resistant sheep have a favourable correlation with fat and muscle. Rylington ewes MORE INFORMATION If you are a delivery network, business or facilitator working in the pastoral zone and would like to discuss ways you can partner with Pastoral Profit, please contact the Pastoral Profit National Coordinator: Pene Keynes P (08) 8841 4500 E firstname.lastname@example.org If you are a wool, sheepmeat, beef producer or consultant who works in the pastoral zone and would like to participate in the program or stay up to date with activities that are happening, please send your email address and location to email@example.com Pastoral Profit is new program launched by AWI and MLA for mixed grazing producers in the pastoral zone. It directly addresses the challenges facing many pastoral livestock producers by targeting business management skills to improve bottom lines.