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Beyond the Bale : June 2012
FAST FACTS lStaff from Nareen station in western Victoria have all completed the Lifetime Ewe Management (LTEM) course. lNareen station achieved a 110 per cent weaning rate across the flock of 20,000 Merino ewes last year. lIrrespective of whether seasonal conditions are good or bad, the management aims regarding condition scores stay the same. June 2012 BEYOND THE BALE 22 ON-FARM Both the business and human benefits of Lifetime Ewe Management (LTEM) training are clear to see at Nareen station in western Victoria. Inside a busy shearing shed all the talk is about high fleece weights and staple strength while outside the team discuss how sheep are coming off shears. Aided by one of the best seasons in living memory, the Nareen team achieved a 110 per cent weaning rate across the flock of 20,000 Merino ewes last year. This was achieved by monitoring and matching the protein and energy requirements of animals with the feed on offer in the paddock. Station manager Grant Little said the result was helped by a great season but also coincided with staff finishing some 3-4 years of valuable training across the two far western Victorian properties: Nareen and Barrama. While there has been an increase in supplementary feeding since the course was undertaken, it had yielded a very healthy return with gross margins increasing significantly across the flock and ewe mortality almost halving. "Everyone has completed the Lifetime Ewe Management course and it has made such a difference as everyone is now on the same page, knowing what to look out for, what to manage for. It all came together perfectly last year which was great," Mr Little said. LTEM is a two year course delivered on farm that teaches how to best match the physiological needs of the ewe with the pasture on offer and supplementary feeding when required. The course was delivered through Rural Industries Skill Training with Darren Gordon as the facilitator. While sheep were on green feed from early January right through the dream season of 2011, this year is a stark contrast with little to no feed in paddocks in late April and supplementary feeding of sheep a major priority. Adult ewes are receiving three kilograms or more of grain a week. While the two production seasons are entirely different, the management aims stay exactly the same according to Mr Little. "We've taken the seasonal variation right out of the equation. We've been condition scoring ewes since just after Christmas and those lighter ewes and the twin bearing ewes from last year have all had preferential treatment to get back into condition. We had another look through the flock in early February and once things settle down after shearing we'll take another look as we take the rams out." The Nareen-Barrama team: Shayne Neylon, Michael Lane, Lawrie Neylon, Kelvin Crutch, Charlie Gailbraith, Asta Vickery, Josie Webb, Grant Little. LTEM HELPS DELIVER 110% WEANING Barrama/Nareen comparison: before and after LTEM •18,000 ewes increased to 20,000 ewes •Lambs marked to ewes joined lifted from 81 per cent to 107 per cent aided by good seasons •Reduced ewe mortality from 4.5 per cent to 2.3 per cent •Increased supplementary feeding from 15kg/hd to 32kg/hd •Gross margin per head lifted significantly.