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Beyond the Bale : June 2017
Significant investment by industry R&D corporations, state agriculture departments and universities from the 1960s onwards resulted in a considerable amount of information, technology and tools to assist sheep and wool producers to increase productivity, profitability and sustainability. However, most of this information tended to be disaggregated and delivered in a piecemeal fashion. In response, AWI and MLA instigated in 2005 the development of the Making More From Sheep (MMFS) project that consolidated this information into a best practice package of information and management tools for Australian wool and lamb producers, to assist them achieve profitable and sustainable sheep production. Teams made up of industry experts wrote each of the 12 manual modules and 'road tested' each module with producer groups in all sheep production zones. The modules were produced originally as a hard copy manual and have also been made available online on the MMFS website -- see box right for a list of available modules. Following an initial investment over four years starting in 2005 (Phase 1) the project was extended, after which a second phase began (Phase 2: 2011--13) and was also subsequently extended (Phase 2 extension: 2014--16), with the project ending in December 2016 (although a few ongoing webinar activities continue to be delivered). THE RESULTS OF THE MMFS PROGRAM MMFS has generally been considered a good investment by AWI and MLA for sheep producers. Most MMFS targets were over-achieved and the benefit-cost ratio (BCR) (calculated twice during the project) showed a BCR of 3.9:1 at the end of Phase 1 rising to a BCR of 5.6:1 at the end of Phase 2 and a net present value of $13.98 million. Overall, $4.70 was gained for every $1 spent. Evaluation of the MMFS manual showed that 62% of participants rated the manual as either 'very useful' or 'useful'. The website was well supported and 1,300 copies of the full manual were downloaded in Phase 1, compared to sales of the hard copy manual of approximately 1,400. There were around 16,000 visits per month to the website by the end of the project. 20,361 participants attended 1,035 MMFS events over nine years. MMFS events were generally considered outstanding, with 97% of participants rating events as either 'useful' or 'very useful'. Participant confidence in their ability to An analysis of the recently concluded Making More From Sheep (MMFS) project shows that most targets of the project were over-achieved and $4.70 was gained for every $1 spent. A joint initiative of AWI and Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA), the MMFS program provided woolgrowers and sheepmeat producers with a best practice package of information and management tools, and was supported by a range of events and workshops. The resources from the program will continue to be available on the MMFS website at www.makingmorefromsheep.com.au. MAKING MORE FROM SHEEP PROVES ITS VALUE The 12 modules in the program are still available for you to view or download (free) from the MMFS website www.makingmorefromsheep.com.au 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 PASTORAL MODULE 12. EFFICIENT PASTORAL PRODUCTION MAKING MORE FROM SHEEP MODULES "Making More From Sheep events that I attended were fantastic really -- they gave me some hard evidence to back up our gut feel and also the tools to be able to assess things accurately." Woolgrower Simon Wheaton Kangaroo Island, South Australia. implement change rose from 56% prior to events to 73% after events. 89% of all participants reported increased knowledge and skills. Evaluation of practice change and adoption from Phase 2 found 76% of producers interviewed had made on-farm change after attending a MMFS event (extrapolated to 56% of all producers attending MMFS events). While the delivery phase of the MMFS project has now concluded, its useful set of resources is still available to be downloaded by wool producers to help them increase productivity, profitability and sustainability. A report of the MMFS project has been produced that provides a detailed history of the project and its achievements. The report is recommended as a resource for any extension professional engaging in new project development. MORE INFORMATION www.makingmorefromsheep.com.au ON FARM 51