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Beyond the Bale : June 2011
25 June 2011 BEYOND THE BALE ON-FARM With the market for wool looking bright, woolgrowers across the country have been endeavouring to maximise conception rates this autumn. In Tasmania, the productive season across the state this summer should have seen most ewes and rams in good condition going into joining. For those producers still waiting to put their rams out, recently appointed coordinators for SheepConnect Tasmania, Andrew Bailey and Catriona Nicholls, ran some flock fertility workshops at Campbell Town and Kempton to remind producers of the key points: • Check rams for soundness before joining • Consider spike feeding rams with lupins for increased fertility • Aim to have all ewes in condition score 3 or better at joining • Maiden Merino ewes need to be at least 75-80 per cent of their mature weight at joining. "Managing ewe nutrition is the key to ensuring optimum conception," Cat said. "Condition scoring is a quick and reliable tool to manage ewes to meet production targets and enable timely decisions to optimise reproduction rates. The actual condition score of the ewes is the most important determinant of ovulation rate. "Minimum condition score 3 is the target for ewes at joining. The target condition score is a balance between reproductive performance, stocking rate and supplementary feeding costs." Rebuilding the flock is also a major focus of the Making More From Sheep program, of which Andrew Bailey is also the Tasmanian coordinator. The Making More From Sheep program is a best practice package of information, tools and learning opportunities developed by AWI and Meat & Livestock Australia for Australian sheep producers. Almost 250 leading sheep producers and technical experts helped develop 11 linked modules in the program's manual. As the season progresses Andrew and Cat will be working with producers in Tasmania to ensure conception rates turn into healthy lambs as spring commences. More information: SheepConnect Tasmania: Andrew Bailey, firstname.lastname@example.org, (03) 6336 5385. Cat Nicholls, email@example.com, 0427 571 199. Making More From Sheep program: www.makingmorefromsheep.com.au FAST FACTS lImproved seasonal conditions and market prices have encouraged woolgrowers to focus on rebuilding their flocks. l The AWI network group SheepConnect Tasmania is helping sheep producers in the state to optimise their flocks' fertility. l The 'Wean More Lambs' module of the Making More From Sheep manual is particularly useful. Rebuilding the f lock GROWER NETWORK GROUP COORDINATOR PHONE EMAIL Sheep Connect NSW Michelle Anderson (02) 6391 3954 firstname.lastname@example.org BESTWOOL/BESTLAMB (Vic) Lyndon Kubiel (03) 5761 1649 email@example.com The Sheep's Back (WA) Bob Hall (08) 9736 1055 firstname.lastname@example.org Sheep Connect SA Ian McFarland (08) 8226 0428 email@example.com Leading Sheep (Qld) Tony Hamilton (07) 4688 1270 firstname.lastname@example.org Sheep Connect TAS Andrew Bailey (03) 6336 5385 email@example.com Bestprac (Pastoral) Carlyn Sherri (08) 8842 1103 csherri @ruraldirections.com ABOUT SHEEPCONNECT TASMANIA AWI STATE NETWORKS AWI state networks provide opportunities for woolgrowers and producers to make changes to their production and management practices. To learn more about how you can get involved, call the coordinator in your state/region. SheepConnect Tasmania is the current phase of a nine-year investment in extension by AWI in Tasmania. The current extension program uses a balance of interactive meetings, such as workshops and field days, and communications such as newsletters to help Tasmanian sheep producers improve the profitability of their businesses. A large majority of Tasmania's woolgrowers are involved in some way in SheepConnect Tasmania. About 300 Tasmanian wool- growing businesses have been have been involved in an extension activity, and about 70 Tasmanian wool-growing businesses are actively involved in a network of eight SheepConnect groups. A further 460 businesses in the wider Tasmanian wool-growing population are kept involved by receiving hardcopy issues of the program's quarterly newsletter. The services sector, including stock and station agents, wool brokers, agricultural consultants and Tasmanian Government officers, are also involved. A recent review of SheepConnect Tasmania found that the program is delivering strongly against its objectives -- in terms of numbers, topics and types of activities and information provided. There are also good early indications that the program has impacted on participants' understanding, attitudes, skills and intentions. To find out about the recent activities of the AWI state networks, read the latest edition of The Network's News newsletter at www.wool.com/networks