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Beyond the Bale : September 2017
AWI’s new Realising Performance Potential one-day workshop, developed for commercial enterprises with self- replacing Merino flocks, identifies key practical actions to implement on-farm to convert reproductive potential into profit. Built around scanning, condition scoring and wet/dry assessment at lamb marking, the workshop helps woolgrowers to develop the practical skills required to identify ‘performers’ from ‘passengers’ among adult ewes within their enterprises. The reproductive efficiency of a flock can be significantly improved by culling the poor performers and retaining the good performers. The workshop assists the commercial self-replacing Merino production sector in recognising and placing appropriate importance on the total lifetime productivity potential and value of their Merino ewes (fleece, meat, surplus stock) and aims to achieve a minimum weaning rate of 95% from Merino joinings. The workshop is designed to complement the Lifetime Ewe Management (LTEM) course, which has now involved approximately 3,000 sheep producers across Australia. Realising Performance Potential offers beneficial management skills for both pre- and post- LTEM participants. Lifting the reproductive performance of the Merino flock is a key focus within the current AWI Strategic Plan, and the launch of the first Realising Performance Potential workshop REALISING PERFORMANCE POTENTIAL WORKSHOPS A new AWI workshop – titled Realising Performance Potential – has been rolled out to help woolgrowers lift the lifetime reproductive performance of their Merino flocks. in May follows pilot workshops held in 2016 that gauged the needs of leading commercial woolgrowers and helped fine-tune the program for national roll out. The first workshops were held in NSW and Victoria, and AWI will look to roll out workshops nationwide during the remaining months of 2017 and through 2018. The workshops are conducted on commercial properties using commercial sheep, with a maximum of 20 participants per workshop. POSITIVE RECEPTION FROM WOOLGROWERS Woolgrower Peter McCrabb and his wife Lisa, who run a large self-replacing Merino flock at ‘North Bundy’ at Booroorban in the western Riverina district of NSW, hosted a workshop on their property in July. Peter, who is a graduate of the Australian Rural Leadership Program funded by AWI, is already achieving 127% of lambs marked to ewes joined. He had seen that a workshop was being held at Bookham near Yass, and wanted to get involved by arranging a workshop further west in the Riverina for larger, pastoral producers. “At ‘North Bundy’ I had a suitable venue and the sheep, so I gave AWI a call and the workshop was soon arranged. It was attended by 20 woolgrowers from across the region including a high proportion of young producers,” Peter said. “I’ve previously done Bred Well Fed Well and Lifetime Ewe Management courses, and the Realising Performance Potential workshop is an extension of the LTEM course, for those woolgrowers who want to find new areas to improve reproductive performance in their flocks. “The workshop was a great success and provided attendees with very useful skills that I’m sure they will apply in their own enterprises. It was very encouraging to see so many young producers getting involved; I wish I’d had this knowledge 20 years ago. “The projection data about the reproductive potential that we can get out of a Merino flock is very positive for the next few decades. Ewes’ reproduction is repeatable. If you can increase weaning of lambs to ewes joined by say 20% then it will make a huge difference to an enterprise’s profitability. “I think this workshop is especially useful for producers in the pastoral zone because to increase profitability here you have to focus on maximizing production per head, which then increases production per hectare. “It is important to see AWI rolling out these types of workshops to give woolgrowers access to current and relevant information, so woolgrowers can build on the many positive signs in the industry at the moment.” THE KEY 5 THEMES OF REALISING PERFORMANCE POTENTIAL 1. Understand ewe lifetime performance – passengers v performers 2. Lift ewe performance as a national priority 3. The 3 key performance practices: • Scan • Condition score • Wet/dry at marking 4. Turning potential to profit – lamb and wean well 5. Strategies for success – management calendar. MORE INFORMATION Keep an eye on wool.com/events for future workshops or if you are interested in hosting a workshop please contact AWI’s Project Officer Mark Scott on 0417 056 079 or firstname.lastname@example.org One of the new Realising Performance Potential workshops funded by AWI was held at the ‘North Bundy’ property of Peter (above centre) and Lisa McCrabb near Hay in the Riverina of NSW. 44 ON FARM
In the Shops - September 2017