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Beyond the Bale : June 2015
ON FARM 37 The availability of a Lifetime Ewe Management app gives producers a mobile decision making tool to optimise the energy requirements of their flock. Whilst not a replacement for the on-farm course, the app is a digital extension of it. AWI’s free Lifetime Ewe Management (LTEM) app for the iPhone is proving popular with more than 830 downloads to date. The app is a digital extension (but not a substitute) for the LTEM course which educates producers on the best management practices for ewe nutrition through the reproduction cycle. The LTEM course is offered by Rural Industries Skill Training (RIST) and funded through AWI. The availability of the app means users can now carry with them millions of dollars of research and extension in their pocket and make day-to-day decisions to optimize flock management. Megan Rogers, Principal Consultant of SheepSMART Solutions, from Forbes in NSW is a Lifetime Ewe Management course facilitator, and was one of the Condition Scoring activity leaders at last month’s National Merino Challenge – see page 28. Megan says she particularly likes to use the LTEM app when working with groups, as it assists producers gain confidence in condition scoring breeding ewes, as well as feed budgeting. “Part of my role as an LTEM trainer is to assist producers in gaining skills and confidence in condition scoring, and in doing so encouraging them to incorporate condition scoring into routine management. I don’t like to think of condition scoring as a stand-alone operation or exercise, it is incorporated into whatever is taking place in the yards at the time,” Megan said. “The app helps speed up the condition scoring process a little, as you can condition score with one hand and record the condition score with the other hand on the iPhone. “More and more farmers are using smartphones in their everyday farming operations, and this app is a great tool to assist with management of ewes and pastures.” Megan says monitoring condition score of breeding ewes is an essential part of running a productive sheep operation, and any way to assist in the collection and interpretation of this vital information is a positive. “Quite often at the start of the LTEM course, participants are cautious about the technique, and how accurate they will be with condition scoring, and I like to spend time assisting them build that confidence in the technique. I tend to find that it takes very little time to see their confidence grow and discussion around very accurate increments within each condition score taking place. “One of the stand out features of the LTEM course, and the app, is that a lot of the more detailed calculations have been done, and the process is more focused on the understanding of key concepts, and knowing where the information that relates to these concepts is contained in the course material, including the app. The LTEM course has made the concept of routine feed budgeting, condition scoring and sheep management much easier through the development of tools to make the process simpler, and less time consuming. “A key observation regarding productivity in sheep management is consistency of performance, and the LTEM course and app are valuable tools in assisting producers gain that consistency of performance in their operation. By achieving consistent conception and weaning rates, producers have the capacity to increase sheep sales, genetic gain, and forecast production more accurately, and this is a positive thing for them.” MORE INFORMATION www.wool.com/LTEM An iPhone version of the app is available free through the Apple App store. An android version of the app and an upgrade of the iPhone version are currently in development. LIFETIME EWE MANAGEMENT APP Supplied with this copy of Beyond the Bale is the Scoring for profit A3-sized poster that was originally produced by AWI’s Sheep Connect Tasmania network using information from Lifetime Wool. The poster describes seven important phases in the reproductive cycle of Merino ewes. Managing ewe condition during each step of the cycle affects: • conception success • reproductive rate • placental development • udder development and colostrum production of the ewe • foetal growth of the lamb, and wool follicle development that influences wool production • ewe milk production that influences lamb growth after birth. If you would like further copies of the poster, please call the AWI Helpline on 1800 070 099. SCORING FOR PROFIT POSTER This infographic describes seven important phases in the reproductive cycle of Merino ewes. Managing ewe condition during each step of the cycle affects: conception success, reproductive rate, placental development, udder development and colostrum production of the ewe, foetal growth of the lamb, including wool follicle development which influences wool production in the progeny and ewe milk production which influences lamb growth after birth. The condition score of the ewe at lambing influences birth weight and lamb survival. Lifting the condition score of twin-bearing ewes from 2.5 to 3.5 at lambing can increase lamb survival by about 15–20%, delivering an extra 30 lambs born for every 100 ewes joined. Lambs from ewes fed to maintain condition score during pregnancy produce 0.2kg/hd more wool and up to 0.2 micron finer wool than lambs from ewes allowed to lose a condition score. 70% of lamb survival is driven by birth weight. Ewes in condition score 4.0 or higher (particularly single ewes) may be at increased risk of having lambing difficulties (dystocia). Lamb liveweight at weaning is important for weaner survival. 20 extra lambs per 100 ewes for each increase in condition score. Ewe condition score during early to mid pregnancy affects placental development, which drives primary follicle development and can have a lifetime impact on fibre diameter and fleece weight. 800kg DM/ha minimum green FOO to maintain ewe condition* * Supplementary feed as required Scoring for profit of lamb mortalities from birth to weaning occur during the first 48 hours of life. 500kg DM/ha green FOO minimum pasture target at break of season 900kg DM/ha green FOO minimum pasture target by day 90 of pregnancy 1200kg DM/ha green FOO minimum pasture target for single-bearing ewes 1800kg DM/ha green FOO minimum pasture target for twin-bearing ewes 3.0 condition score target at joining Ewe condition score on the day of conception is the major predictor of reproductive rate. Condition score (CS) is an assessment of the amount of soft tissue (fat and meat) over the short ribs and backbone on a scale of 1.0 to 5.0. This assessment is independent of body weight. For more information go to www. lifetimewool.com.a u/conditionscore.aspx Feed on offer (FOO), also known as pasture mass or herbage mass, is the amount of pasture available for sheep consumption expressed in kilograms of dry matter per hectare (e.g . 1100 kg DM/ha). For more information go to www.feedonofferlibrary.com Improved ewe nutrition through lactation means bigger weaners and better weaner survival. 3.0+ condition score target for twin-bearing ewes at lambing* * target condition score for ewes bearing single lambs is 3.0 2.7–3.0 condition score target during lactation 1400kg DM/ha green FOO minimum pasture target for single-bearing ewes 2000kg DM/ha green FOO minimum pasture target for twin-bearing ewes 5 Lactation (day 150–240) 4 Lambing (day 150) 3 Late pregnancy (day 90–150) 2 Early to mid pregnancy (day 1–90) 1000+kg DM/ha green FOO minimum pasture target 800kg DM/ha target to preserve groundcover* * Supplementary feed as required 7 Post weaning – pre joining (day 240–365) 1100kg DM/ha minimum green FOO to maintain ewe condition* * Supplementary feed as required weaning liveweight target* * draft off and preferentially feed lightweight weaners until critical liveweights are achieved 3.0+ 4.0–6 .0kg the optimum birthweight for lamb survival. Stocking rate vs profitability 6 Weaning (day 240) The more time on high-quality green feed post weaning, the lower the cost of achieving condition targets prior to joining. Give priority to lighter condition score ewes. r Ewe nutrition during late pregnancy has a greater impact on lamb birth weight (up to 0.45kg), than early pregnancy nutrition. 3.0+ condition score target for twin-bearing ewes by lambing* * target condition score for ewes bearing single lambs is 3.0 Birth weight (kg) 0 2 4 6 8 100 80 60 40 20 0 Lambsurvival(%) Single Twin 3.7kg twin lambs 4.9kg single lamb average birth weight 1000kg DM/ha green FOO minimum pasture target for single-bearing ewes 1200kg DM/ha green FOO minimum pasture target for twin-bearing ewes Cleanfleeceweight(kg) Single Twi n Lose 0.5 CS Maintain CS 3.4 3.3 3.2 3.1 3.0 2.9 2.8 0.3 recommended maximum loss of condition score Liveweight at weaning (kg) 10152025303540 100 80 60 40 20 0 Weanersurvival(%) Feed on offer (kg DM/ha) 0 1000 2000 3000 300 250 200 150 100 50 0 Lambgrowthrate(g/day) Single Twi n Maximum age for weaning lambs $ 2.5–2.7 ewe condition score target at weaning 123 4 567 j oiningearlytomidlatela mbi nglactationweaningpostwean ing prejoin i n g pregnancypregnancy Ewes in condition score 3.0 have full eye muscle and no excess fat but the short ribs and spine are well covered. Lambsborn(per100ewes) 160 140 120 100 80 60 Ewe condition score at joining 1.0 2.0 3.0 4.0 5.0 45% adult bodyweight Stocking rate (DSE/ha) 7.5 10.0 12.5 15.0 17.5 20.0 350,000 300,000 250,000 200,000 150,000 100,000 Profit($/farm/year) Increasing utilisation of pasture lifetimewool guidelines (better condition at lambing) Previous recommendations (thinner at lambing) This infographic has been produced by Hot Tin Roof Communications and Redtail Graphic Design for Sheep Connect Tasmania from information contained in the Ewe Management Handbook produced by lifetimewool. For more information about managing ewes for optimal reproductive performance or to find out about participating in a Lifetime Ewe Management course go to: www.lifetimewool.com.au ewe condition score target post weaning to pre joining 70% lifetimewool more lambs, better wool, healthy ewes Ewe condition score at lambing Lambsurvival(%) Single Twi n 100 90 80 70 60 50 40 1 2 3 4 5 15% increase in lamb survival FOO Feed on offer (FOO) and pasture quality during lactation (particularly legume content) is the major driver of lamb growth rates. Feed on offer (FOO) targets^ ^ FOO targets are for high-quality (75% digestibility) green feed 1 Joining (day 0) “We will refer to this poster and use it as a focal point for discussion as a team as we juggle our feed availability, supplementary feeding program and our target livestock weights and condition scores throughout the production cycle. “Rather than seeing the information in isolation, it allows our staff to put it all together so they can see why we are doing what we are doing.” MORE INFORMATION www.wool.com/LTEM