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Beyond the Bale : September 2016
cropping. He leases half of his arable area out to his neighbour to crop to wheat, barley and canola – Jeremy has grazing rights to use the stubbles. DRY SHEEP ADD FLEXIBILITY AND VALUE “For Merino sheep enterprises to remain profitable, pasture utilisation has to continue to improve. When the early winter rains don’t arrive on time, grazing capacity is reduced,” Jeremy said. “Dry sheep such as wethers and unmated ewes can be sold quickly.” Rainfall at ‘Colvin’ averages 415mm, with the winter growing season rainfall for the past 12 years averaging 250mm. However last year, the season started badly for Jeremy and on 20 June he sold 2,000 wethers. “I could have fed them in confinement, but I didn’t have a known end point as to when I could stop feeding. As it was, even with less sheep, we were still hand feeding until 17 August. An unplanned significant fodder purchase in response to a dry season is one of our biggest risks. “The feed situation turned quickly from a deficit to a surplus in August/September. We ended up with significant spring feed so I cancelled planned ewe sales and agisted some weaner cattle from the Pilbara.” EXIT STRATEGIES FOR POOR SEASONS MLMO provides information, tools and support to sheep producers to build confidence in managing variable seasons and to enhance their awareness of current and future opportunities to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases from their sheep enterprise. It is funded by the Australian Government and more than 160 workshops have been delivered nationally by RIST over the past two years. In the MLMO workshop, producers are asked to assign dates to an exit strategy to cope with dry seasons. The exit strategy promoted via MLMO was originally developed by AWI’s ‘Sheep’s Back’ program. “We went through the workshop manual and wrote down our dates and our strategies – we wrote down our planned DSE on certain dates and what we’d do if it hadn’t rained by certain dates,” Jeremy said. “When it doesn’t rain, I get pretty emotional; my decision making is blurred,” Jeremy said. “If a plan is written down, the decision making becomes clearer; I make those decisions ahead of or on time and I can think clearly as a result of having a plan. “If I’d been doing that 20-30 years ago, I would have run more dry sheep – in a wool enterprise it gives you more flexibility and improved pasture utilisation. “Generally, I sell wethers between one and two years of age. When things go bad, the wethers are the first to be sold. Timing depends on seasonal feed availability and of course optimising stocking rate.” Jeremy said an exit strategy is always a bit of a chicken and egg strategy. “We make decisions only knowing the past and with no information about future seasonal prospects. “The key is to act quickly, because it’s hard to sell when everyone else is selling and therefore becoming a weak seller. Last year I sold my wethers in the wool to store buyers to enable a quick sale. I need to make clinical decisions early and quickly. I learn from all these decisions, so it’s easier next time with past experience. No two seasons are the same.” MORE INFORMATION Jeremy Lefroy: 0427 549 043, firstname.lastname@example.org For information on the LTEM course and/or MLMO workshops, contact RIST on 03 5573 0956 or visit www.rist.com.au See TRIGUARD product label for full claims and directions for use. 1. Merial data on file. *AVCARE data MAT March 2016. Merial Australia Pty Ltd, Building D, 12-24 Talavera Road, Macquarie Park, NSW 2113.ABN 53 071 187 285.TRIGUARD® is a registered trademark of Merial Limited. ©2016 Merial Limited.All rights reserved.TRIG.15.06.0141D.BTB.QP.SA With an average efficacy of 99.7%, based on faecal worm egg count reduction, across properties tested, TRIGUARD delivers the results you’re looking for in a sheep drench.1 With broad spectrum activity, TRIGUARD provides effective worm control, even against resistant worms. AUSTRALIA’S NO.1 SELLING COMBINATION SHEEP DRENCH* FOR HEALTHY NO.2S. ON FARM 29
In the Shops - September 2016