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Beyond the Bale : December 2017
Members of the Lifetime Ewe Management (LTEM) group at Frankland in the Great Southern Region of Western Australia developing their condition scoring skills, with some members using the LTEM smartphone app developed by AWI. Managed by Rural Industries Skill Training (RIST) and funded by AWI, LTEM is a best management course for woolgrowers. It assists in the proactive nutritional management of ewes throughout the reproduction cycle to maximise productivity. A LTEM course is comprised of groups of five to seven producers that meet six times per year with a trained facilitator. During these hands- on sessions, the group visits each participating farm and learns the skills of condition scoring, pasture assessment and best practice ewe and lamb management to increase reproduction efficiency and wool production, mainly through reducing ewe and lamb mortality. More than 3,500 woolgrowers have already taken part in the course and on average lift weaning rates by 7-8% and drop ewe mortality by up to 15% as a result. Peter and Lisa McCrabb run an 8,000 head self-replacing Merino ewe operation Interest in Lifetime Ewe Management (LTEM) remains high, with AWI continuing to fund the popular LTEM course to help woolgrowers manage the nutrition of their breeding ewes and maximise reproduction efficiency. Recent developments include a new online hub, new website and the launch of the new android App. located in the 300mm annual rainfall region of Booroorban, south west of Hay in NSW. They undertook LTEM with trainer Geoff Duddy in 2016 and believe it is responsible for the single biggest gain in reproductive performance in their enterprise, with increased conception rates and weaning percentages being realised. “Pre-LTEM, we were typically weaning about 100% lambs per ewes joined but by following LTEM principles we have since achieved rates of 114% and 127% lambs weaned per ewes joined,” Peter said. “This has made a big difference in our enterprise.” AWI last year committed to subsidising 1,500 more LTEM graduates by June 2019, with more than 900 producers utilising this opportunity to date. LTEM groups are MAXIMISE REPRODUCTION EFFICIENCY WITH LTEM springing up across the country. The LTEM program was developed using the research outcomes of the AWI-funded Lifetime Wool project, which ran from 2001 to 2008, and involved woolgrowers and researchers in WA, Vic, NSW, and SA. LTEM is a great example of where AWI investment in initial research, its further development and an effective extension model has paid off handsomely for the woolgrowers AWI works for, and it will continue to generate benefits for many years to come. MORE INFORMATION To find a trainer and a group near you, head to the new LTEM page on the RIST website at www.rist.edu.au/lifetime-ewe-management. The LTEM Team at RIST can be contacted on (03) 5573 0943 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. NEW LTEM APP FOR ANDROID SMARTPHONES Following the release in March of an updated version of the free LTEM app for Apple smartphones, the version for Android smartphones is also now available free from the Google Play Store. The app is a digital extension of the LTEM course. The LTEM smartphone app incorporates all the key estimations and calculations of feed on offer (FOO), condition scoring, feed budgeting and supplementary feeding calculations. It uses cloud technology to store and aggregate paddock, mob and supplement data for multiple users for the same account. Once an account is created, all data can be managed at a personalised central hub at the new website www.ltem.com.au. This app was largely created in-house at AWI with assistance from RIST together with many who helped roadtest the app in paddocks and sheepyards across the country. The development of the LTEM app means users can carry with them millions of dollars of research and extension in their pocket and make day-to-day decisions to optimise flock management. This is an example of how AWI is creating innovative, practical and low-cost solutions to help woolgrowers improve the profitability of their businesses. The LTEM app is not a substitute but an addition to the LTEM course offered by RIST and funded through AWI. MORE INFORMATION The LTEM app is free and is available at the iTunes Store and the Google Play Store. ON FARM 49