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Beyond the Bale : Apr 07 - May 07
Budgeting in drought or dry years Lifetime Wool has released an easy-to-use, quick guide to summer feeding rates. Designed for managing ewe flocks, it allows producers to predict gain or loss in condition based on current feed, while showing how much supplementary feed is needed to maintain condition.The tables cover two pasture systems -- mixed, perennial grass-based pastures of south-eastern Australia and annual, clover- based pastures typically found in WA and SA.The tables are broken down into: ú what they need -- required energy for pregnant or lactating ewes of different frame sizes; ú what they can eat -- likely energy intakes from dry pastures for different frame-size ewes; ú weight loss or gain -- expected weight loss in kilograms or condition score; and ú feed values and how to calculate feeding rates. Working out how much energy ewes need to meet the changing demands of pregnancy and lactation is an important part of profitably managing ewes. Ewes in poor condition at lambing will compromise progeny survival and future production. Using these tables makes budgeting easy, although Lifetime Wool still recommends producers contact their local department of primary industries office as well. For more information on ewe condition targets and recommendations, see www.lifetimewool.com.au or contact the Lifetime Wool officer in your state. LIFETIME WOOL OFFICER CONTACT Victoria James Whale 03 5336 6633 WA Mandy Curnow 08 9892 8422 SA Katrina Copping 08 8762 9186 NSW Dr Sue Hatcher 02 6391 3861 Tasmania Andrew Bailey 03 6336 5381 achieve the minimum weight needed for a good economic return. It is very useful in years like 2006; we know what level we can get down to without risking wool production, and it also means we don't overfeed when feed is expensive. "Last year was a bad year for us -- we had a very late break -- and Lifetime Wool helped us keep on top of feeding. It meant we got good lambing results." Mr Telfer says learning about feed budgeting was also important. "Feed budgeting has had some benefits: we know when to feed, what supplements are needed and also not to overfeed. "I'm also more aware of feed quality, the amount feed can degrade, and I now calculate feed and energy requirements. Our supplementary feeding is now a bit more scientific." The Telfers, who shear about 9000 sheep a year, have been involved in various agriculture department programs over the years, including 'Pastures from Space', a program that uses satellite images to determine feed on offer. "In our own area, there were about 10 to 12 of us involved in Pastures from Space. Most of us then became involved in Lifetime Wool." Mr Telfer encourages other wool producers to consider the program. "Lifetime Wool is one of the few very practical programs out there. It's easy to implement and not costly." Meeting wool production goals For western Victoria's Michael Craig, Lifetime Wool has helped tailor a nutritional package to suit his wool production goals, while reaffirming practices already in place. Mr Craig runs 22,500 sheep and 980 cattle and crops 400ha of a 3760-ha property at Harrow with his wife Jane. In the first couple of years, he says, Lifetime Wool helps boost fertility rates, lower mortality rates and improve overall production. "We've learnt to condition- score our animals properly and evaluate what their requirements are, what's available in the paddock and what the gap is." However, his focus has now shifted. "With the micron bracket we're in -- 15 to 17 micron -- we need to be focused on our tensile strength," Mr Craig says. "We believe that, long term, premiums will PHOTO: EVAN COLLIS 7 LIFETIME WOOL BEYOND THE BALE
Jun 07 - Jul 07
Feb 07 - Mar 07 Supplement