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Beyond the Bale : March 2018
John and Jenny Ridley run a self-replacing Merino flock on their 1,700 hectare home block at ‘Round Cowal’, 60km south-west of Forbes, on the eastern side of Lake Cowal, the largest inland lake in NSW. They currently run 1,550 Merino ewes of which 1,100 are classed and joined to Merino rams, and the remaining 450 (classed as 2nd grade) are joined to Border Leicester rams and their progeny sold at seven months of age. Their grown ewes cut 7.3kgs of 19–21 micron wool with staple length of about 94 mm; their weaners cut 5.2kgs. The Ridleys also have 200 Hereford cows and calves and fattening steers to 590kg, plus 250 hectares share farmed and sown to faba beans. They also own another 1,500 hectares leased out at nearby Burcher. John and Jenny started a Lifetime Ewe Management (LTEM) course two years ago with the South Forbes Group run by trainer Megan Rogers of Sheepsmart Solutions. wife about sheep matters,” Megan said. “They were open and frank in their approach towards learning and asking questions, and the other participants were very comfortable with them being in the group.” ABOUT LIFETIME EWE MANAGEMENT The LTEM course, supported by AWI, aims to increase producers’ understanding of the influence of ewe nutrition and management on overall reproduction rates and lamb and ewe survival. Producers develop the skills to manage their ewes to achieve condition score targets and explore the economics of supplementary feeding and pasture management to review stocking rates. LTEM groups meet six times in the annual sheep calendar during a period of 12 months. The course is very hands-on, being based in the sheep yards, shearing sheds and paddocks of participating woolgrowers, which enables participants to share and learn from Jenny had recently started helping out on the farm and encouraged her husband to attend the course. Keen to get more involved, Jenny enrolled herself too. The South Forbes LTEM Group was established after a previous attendee of one of Megan’s LTEM groups suggested to woolgrower Sharon Maguire of nearby ‘Coo-ee’ that she and her husband Kevin should do the course. So, rather uniquely, with Jenny and John Ridley and also Sharon and Kevin Maguire doing the course, there were two husband and wife combinations in the group. Megan said that, as the trainer, she enjoyed the fact that Jenny and Sharon were interested and proactive. “The main reasons for them joining the course were to gain some increased knowledge and support their husbands in improving their sheep productivity; their participation no doubt allowed a more informed and detailed discussion to take place between husband and After taking part in a Lifetime Ewe Management course, the husband and wife team of John and Jenny Ridley, who run 1,550 Merino ewes on their property in the Central West of NSW, have achieved excellent productivity improvements in a very short period of time. John and Jenny Ridley, with their son Sam, checking the condition score of their ewes. As a result of John and Jenny doing the Lifetime Ewe Management course, the Ridleys now regularly condition score their ewes. WOOL-GROWING COUPLE'S CHANCE OF A LIFETIME 36 ON FARM
In the Shops - March 2018