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Beyond the Bale : December 2015
44 ON FARM LIFETIME EWE MANAGEMENT: Woolgrower Robert Glenn, from Moulamein in the western Riverina of NSW, joined the Lifetime Ewe Management (LTEM) program with five other ‘like-minded’ local producers in early 2015. Robert and his wife Alison manage ‘Edward Park’, a 5,200ha property consisting of 4,550ha of dryland crop/grazing and 650ha allocated to irrigated winter clover/rye pastures and rice. The ‘Edward Park’ program revolves around a 5-week joining period in late November/ December. Early weaning, having ewes in 3+ body condition score, using teasers, scanning and separating ewes based on feed requirement prior to and during lambing have all led to improved lamb numbers and survival rates. Robert, as with many woolgrowers, has trialed a number of different Merino blood lines and joined a portion of CFA ewes to Terminals in the past but now believes they have finally achieved a well-balanced, profitable Merino line that optimises both wool and meat returns. “We want a large framed, early maturing Merino with sound 20-21 micron wool. The ewes have to be able to conceive and rear a lamb – weaning rate to ewes joined is the major profit driver out here,” Robert said. Robert now believes that the right genetics, coupled with using many LTEM practices, has seen their operation’s efficiencies and profit margins improve. “We were pretty well shot in 2008 once paddock and grain/hay feed reserves ran out. We made the decision to completely destock the dry pasture areas and reduced our breeding ewe base from 2,500 down to 800 core breeders.” The Glenns preferentially kept ewes that had weaned a lamb in 2008. The following two years saw lamb marking rates exceed 135% and, when asked why, Robert was quick to admit that they focused their energies on feeding the breeding flock. “This is one of the primary objectives and greatest strengths, I believe, for producers who enroll in a LTEM course – learning how to monitor, measure and meet feed needs. While we learnt ‘the hard way’ that many of the LTEM principles work, I was keen to join the LTEM group to see how we could further fine tune our sheep management. “I find that working with an accredited deliverer and having open, frank discussions with like-minded producers have been major positives and a driving factor behind our involvement.” Robert has, in recent years, placed greater focus on meeting ram, ewe and lamb feed needs at critical points throughout the year. Supplementing stock with grain and hay appears to be a major cost but Robert and Alison Glenn, with daughters Samantha and Charleton, who manage ‘Edward Park’ in the western Riverina of NSW. PHOTO: Stock & Land and Fairfax Media FAST FACTS • Robert Glenn from Moulamein in southern NSW continues to fine tune his Merino operation, implementing many on-farm ‘best management’ practices in an effort to optimise wool and sheepmeat production and returns. • He has found Lifetime Ewe Management (LTEM) principles and a focus on practices that offer more ‘bang for his buck’ have allowed him to further push production boundaries. • While monitoring stock condition, meeting stock feed needs and careful attention to lambing ewe management are critical, Robert continues to look ‘outside the square’ to ensure the most cost effective management practices are put in place. PUSHING THE BOUNDARIES
In the Shops - March 2016