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Beyond the Bale : September 2019
36 ON FARM At one of AWI’s RAMping Up Repro workshops held in June, students from Marcus Oldham agricultural college in Geelong learnt the skills needed to improve ram health, performance and longevity in sheep breeding enterprises. RAMPING UP REPRO WORKSHOP Rams are a considerable investment for a woolgrowers’ business; with the rams’ performance impacted by management and preparation for joining. To help ensure that woolgrowers get the most from their rams, AWI in partnership with Zoetis Australia two years ago developed the RAMping Up Repro workshop. The half-day workshop is available across the country via AWI’s state networks, in conjunction with leading deliverers. RAMping Up Repro is a hands-on workshop focussed on improving ram performance and working longevity in commercial sheep enterprises. The workshop is designed to increase skills across the key components that impact on enterprise performance, including anatomy, physiology, spermatogenesis, metabolic demands, health, disease and biosecurity and the financial impact of the ram team. WORKSHOP FOR MARCUS OLDHAM STUDENTS While the workshop is primarily aimed at producers already working on wool-growing properties, students enrolled in a Bachelor of Business (Agriculture) at Marcus Oldham College had the opportunity in June to attend a specially organised workshop run for them at Lal Lal Estate near Ballarat. Marcus Oldham lecturer in Livestock Production and Management, Matt Robertson, said there were 34 keen students in attendance from a range of rural backgrounds. “The majority are from beef, sheep and cropping properties from around Australia. Most, if not all, have had some experience with sheep and wool and are always eager to find out more of the detailed aspects,” Matt said. “The students were looking forward to the workshop, in particular doing an industry- based workshop that will be applicable to them on their own sheep properties. They were looking forward to meeting the Zoetis crew and the sheep vets.” A PRACTICAL AND HANDS-ON EXPERIENCE Matt said the practical aspect of the workshop was excellent, especially having access to the veterinary professionals in the field. “The hands-on approach was critical to the workshop. It kept the students interested and engaged. ‘Learning by doing’ is a great way of learning; there is only so much that can be conveyed or demonstrated in the classroom. Working with experienced, industry veterinarians was invaluable to our students. They could answer questions thrown at them as well answer the obscure anatomical questions. “The students now have a good understanding of the critical aspects of ram reproductive health and hopefully they will implement their learnings on farm at home or any sheep business they work on.” Student Richard Watts from Western Australia said he loved the hands-on nature of the workshop. “I learnt a lot about the anatomy of the animal which gave me a greater appreciation for how to monitor, handle and care for the animal. The skills I learnt will be very helpful – I have already talked about them with my parents who run our family farm,” Richard said. Student Jim Conn, whose family own a beef property on Flinders Island in Tasmania, said the skills would be very useful if he ever pursues a career in the sheep industry. “I found the workshop very informative, practical and worthwhile. Putting the methods into practice is always easier to remember rather than theory. There were lots of points learnt that can be put back into beef.” Hosted by the manager of Lal Lal Estate, Patrick Hyland, and organised by AWI’s state network in Victoria, BestWool/BestLamb, this RAMping Up Repro workshop was delivered by Helen McGregor of Redefining Agriculture and Monica Dickson of Ballarat Sheep Veterinary Services. RAMping Up Repro workshops complement AWI’s Picking Performer Ewes and Winning With Weaners workshops that all aim to help woolgrowers identify key practical actions for their enterprises to implement on-farm to achieve improved productivity – see www.wool.com/workshops. MORE INFORMATION Read the RAMping Up Repro fact sheet at www.wool.com/workshops. For more information on upcoming RAMping Up Repro and other workshops in your area, contact your AWI state network coordinator – see page 46 Students from Marcus Oldham College on a RAMping up Repro workshop held in June at Lal Lal Estate near Ballarat, Victoria. Ovine Brucellosis (OB) is an infectious bacterial disease which causes infertility in infected rams, leading to considerable economic loss through ram wastage, low lamb marking percentages and drawn-out lambing seasons, and in some flocks, abortion in a small percentage of ewes. As infected rams generally do not show any outward signs of ill health, OVINE BRUCELLOSIS abnormalities will only be detected by scrotal palpation or blood testing by your veterinarian. There is no vaccine or other preventive treatment available and infected rams cannot be cured, so ensure your property is free of OB by purchasing rams from an OB accredited flock. Details for each state are available at www.animalhealthaustralia.com.au/ ovine-brucellosis
In the Shops - September 2019