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Beyond the Bale : September 2016
MAKING MORE FROM SHEEP MODULES These 12 modules in the program are available to view or download (free) from the MMFS website www.makingmorefromsheep.com. au. Also available on the website is a Quick Quiz to help producers start identifying areas of their enterprise needing attention, as well as upcoming events being run by the program. Business based modules: 1. Plan for Success 2. Market Focused Wool Production 3. Market Focused Lamb and Sheepmeat Production 4. Capable and Confident Producers Resource & pasture based modules: 5. Protect Your Farm’s Natural Assets 6. Healthy Soils 7. Grow More Pasture 8. Turn Pasture into Product Sheep technology based modules: 9. Gain from Genetics 10. Wean More Lambs 11. Healthy and Contented Sheep Other/new modules: 12. Efficient Pastoral Production Module 12 | Efficient PastoralProduction 9 PROCEDURES any opportunities for undertaking improvement activities when they fit into the program. Take the time to regularly review your management calendar, irrespective of how many people are involved with the running of the business. Check it for areas of overlap that exist, which may place stress on your labour units, or other key deadlines, such as administrative deadlines. Do this in a formal way – use tool 12.5 to formalise the process and include all members of the business in the process as they may see stress points that you may not. Sheep productivity Have you ever wondered about the following: ➜ How well do your sheep stack up by industry standards? ➜ Are they well suited to your environment, management style, and markets that exist in your area? ➜ Are they a profitable flock in the majority of years? ➜ Could they improve with better management or genetics? ➜ What is the district average (long term) for weaning rates of lambs? ➜ Do you pregnancy scan your ewes? ➜ Do you know where the weak points are in your ewe management? Ask yourself these questions, and attempt to answer them with as much Assess current production and handling systems Do you know what industry best practice is? What are the benchmarks for production systems in your area? How are the more successful producers achieving their levels of success? Are there ideas you can adapt to your operation? These are some questions you can ask yourself when consideringyour production system and how it is performing: ➜ Could you be targeting a different market for your youngstock, which may enable higher numbers of breeders? ➜ Could you introduce another enterprise which might increase enterprise flexibility – whereby you can exit it once seasonal trigger points are reached? ➜ Are there smarter ways of doing certain things in your operation? Some common benchmarking examples: ➜ Gross income per DSE ➜ DSE managed per labour unit ➜ Gross income per labour unit ➜ Return on investment % ➜ $ income from wool ($/head) ➜ $ income from meat ($/head) ➜ $ income from surplus sheep sales ➜ Split of wool:meat ratio. Management calendar How does your management calendar look? Do you have a management calendar? A management calendar is a dynamic resource, which outlines key management dates, timings and things which are for the most part key operations for the business. They are usually marked on a calendar, wall planner or a planning tool on a computer. Management calendars document key operations, as well as personnel required to perform these operations, and provide the opportunity to easily see where data and fact as part of the process as possible. Maintaining an objective approach to your sheep performance and focusing on processes within that enterprise, as a means of producing a product(s), will assist you in undertaking a more critical assessment of your management and genetics of your enterprise. Equipment Having suitable equipment is essential for smooth running of any operation, and sheep management is no exception. Many inventions have changed the way pastoral sheep production is conducted and enabled significant efficiencies to be made. Crutching trailers can dramatically reduce the time and labour costs required for mustering sheep for crutching through reductions in mustering distance and time. Developing purpose-built areas for holding sheep whilst drought containment or production feeding assists with labour efficiency and animal production, whilst maintaining groundcover in dry times. These facilities are not widespread throughout the pastoral areas of Australia. Supplementary feeding, although not widespread throughout pastoral areas due to economics, can be greatly assisted by using: ➜ Feed out trailers; there are options for self-weighing trailers which allow accurate amounts to be fed out An assessment of the Making More From Sheep (MMFS) program shows the program has helped participating woolgrowers achieve more profitable and sustainable sheep production. The program provides woolgrowers and sheepmeat producers with a best practice package of information and management tools, supported by a range of events and workshops. This popular and practical program continues to evolve, demonstrated by the recent release of a module especially for sheep producers in Australia’s pastoral zones. PROGRAM PROVIDES $ BENEFITS Sheep and wool producers who have participated in MMFS events have increased their average annual net income by almost $12,000 (or $10 per hectare), according to an assessment of the impact of the whole program. The assessment found that more than three quarters (76%) of participants have made changes to their business, with 66% saying the changes had immediate benefits. The three top benefits reported were increased production (76%), feeling more in control and less stressed (69%) and decreased losses (56%). In quantifying the financial benefits of practice change on case study farms, the review found wool enterprises recorded average gross margin increases of $13 per hectare (6%), resulting in a 24% increase in average profit per kilogram of clean wool produced ($0.37). Across Australia, 11,057 sheep producers have participated in MMFS awareness events and 5,634 in MMFS knowledge, skills and confidence events. POPULAR BEST PRACTICE PROGRAM EXPANDS The Making More From Sheep program, which has helped woolgrowers across Australia increase the productivity and profitability of their enterprises, now includes a new module that focuses specifically on production in the pastoral zone. The new 62-page Efficient Pastoral Production module – available to download (free) from the MMFS website. Module 12 | Efficient Pastoral Production 8 PROCEDURES Key decisions, critical actions and benchmarks Pastoral properties are generally large in size and long distances are regularly travelled to achieve effective property and livestock management. Such operations are often characterised by limited labour resources. Routine activities, such as water runs, can add significant time and fuel costs to the pastoral operation. Labour-hungry activities, such as mustering for shearing and crutching, are also substantial contributors to enterprise costs. There are a number of approaches that have evolved, or been developed to aid in improving the efficiency of day-to-day operations. Some of these are unique to a particular operation, or type of operation, however many have been adopted throughout the entire pastoral industry. These approaches include the use of equipment, technology, infrastructure, labour, and management options that contribute to more efficient and effective livestock management and performance. There are four ‘must-do’ procedures, which forma process for allowing you to make way for efficiencies in your operation: ➜ Assess current production and handling systems ➜ Review innovation across the industry ➜ Determine where greatest opportunities are to benefit from innovation and efficiencies ➜ Benchmark your business against others of similar nature – know key benchmarks and setgoals to achieve these if you are not yet achieving them ➜ Evaluate where labour savings can be made in your operation to improve efficiency AT A GLANCE Procedure 12.3 Efficient pastoral production Background information With modern business constraints at play, agricultural businesses are continually being pressured to improve the efficiency of their operation. Pastoral businesses are particularly given to a need to devise efficient ways ofperforming management operations. ➜ Decide on ways to incorporate efficiency and innovation into the system. There are always emerging ways to do things in a more efficient way, it is up to you to seek them out, evaluate their relevance, cost effectiveness, and fit within your business. “Just as energy is the basis of life itself, and ideas the source of innovation, so is innovation the vital spark of all human change, improvement and progress. ” TedLevitt 1925-2006. NEW MODULE FOR PASTORAL ZONE PRODUCERS The new module in the program – Efficient Pastoral Production – is the twelfth module in the program and was officially launched at Broken Hill’s AgFair in May. Through this new module, pastoral sheep producers can find principles and procedures on the key issues that impact on pastoral sheep business profitability – from how to match grazing pressure with feed supply, to how to control wild dogs, foxes and pigs. AWI Manager, Woolgrower Extension and Adoption, Emily King, said the new module contains seven procedures and each includes ‘must-do’ activities, tools to assist in managing the issues identified in the module, and signposts which direct producers to further information and assistance. “The material was devised by a team of technical experts and sheep producers regarded as industry leaders,” Emily said. “The team identified the critical procedures for each component of a sheep business and the tools needed to start making changes to enterprise practices. “The manual was road tested by sheep producers from all pastoral areas of Australia, as well as public and private service providers who operate businesses in those areas.” Anyone interested in delivering or attending an event aligned to the pastoral module should contact the MMFS coordinator in their state (the coordinators’ details are listed on the MMFS website). MMFS is a joint initiative of AWI and MLA. MORE INFORMATION www.makingmorefromsheep.com.au MODULE 12 Efficient Pastoral Production A joint initiative ofAustralianWool Innovation and Meat & Livestock Australia 40 ON FARM
In the Shops - September 2016