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Beyond the Bale : June 2012
23 ON-FARM June 2012 BEYOND THE BALE Flocks are run in mobs according to condition score and can therefore be managed to ensure ewes are at condition score three at joining and so they don't drop below score 2.7 through pregnancy. Through this, the team aims to have a scanning rate of 125-130% lambs in utero in coming weeks. The next training focus at Nareen is the High Performance Weaner course which naturally aims to assist with one of the most notoriously difficult sheep on a Merino property. "Previously we looked at sheep and thought they looked to be doing well but by getting your hands on the sheep and objectively assessing them we know exactly how they are travelling and what they might need. For ewe weaners that means getting to that critical weight of at least 45 kilograms and ready for joining.” Asta Vickery said group learning on farm was perfect. "You can't remember everything and if someone missed something someone else was there to help. Doing the course on Some 1100 sheep producers across Australia have now joined or completed the on-farm course that provides materials and develops skills to help improve animal nutrition, lambing percentages and weaning rates. Overall, participants have lifted the number of lambs weaned per hectare by 30 per cent, achieved through a 15 per cent increase in ewe stocking rate, a 50 per cent reduction in ewe mortality and a Lawrie Neylon feeding out, a common sight in recent months after a tremendous season in 2011. 15 per cent increase in weaning rates. Delivered in small groups of up to five farmers under the guidance of a professional facilitator, each participant monitors a mob of their own ewes to demonstrate the effects of nutrition and management in their environment. LTEM is a nationally accredited, two-year course, developed and run by RIST (Rural Industries Skill Training) and supported by AWI and the Sheep CRC. RIST Lifetime Ewe Management Program Leader Darren Gordon said the uptake of the course around Australia was an endorsement of its value. "Lifetime Ewe Management is a great agricultural learning success story," Mr Gordon said. "Backed by the Lifetime Wool research conducted some years ago, it has developed into a very practical and highly effective course." LTEM is structured to maximise the retention of knowledge, development of skills and practice change across a number of key areas, including: l Weaning and preparing ewes for next year's joining FAST FACTS l The Lifetime Ewe Management (LTEM) program enables woolgrowers to better understand ewe nutrition and to develop a successful and productive animal production system. l LTEM is a nationally accredited, two- year course, developed and run by RIST (Rural Industries Skill Training) and supported by AWI and the Sheep CRC. l LTEM is delivered in small groups of up to five farmers under the guidance of a professional facilitator. LIFETIME EWE MANAGEMENT DELIVERS LIFETIME BENEFITS farm meant the environment was really relaxed and kept it practical, it also had to fit in with the workings of the station," she said. "During our next training we will weigh some weaners, check their growth rate and assess their energy and protein requirements with what we are feeding out; they certainly aren't getting much from the pasture at the moment." So how do you plan when no-one knows what the crucial next few weeks hold in terms of rain? "The plans are changing week by week at this stage, the amount of grain required is also changing but we have it all mapped out according to if and when the rain falls. The one constant throughout the year is that the sheep's nutritional needs are met and when this happens they deliver for us and there is no better example than last year," Mr Little adds. l Setting up for joining: when and what to feed ewes to optimise ewe condition l Linking ewe condition at joining with lambing potential l Mid-pregnancy: managing nutrition for single and twin lamb survival l Late pregnancy: optimising lamb survival and the future wool production of progeny l Economic analysis of different feeding strategies. LTEM producer data for 2009-2011 showed the average participant runs 5000 ewes (range 150–80,000 ewes). 1100 producers with 5000 ewes equates to a total of 5.5 million ewes. With 37 million ewes to be joined in 2012 according to forecast data, this represents 15 per cent of the national flock. More information: To set up a LTEM group in your local area or to join a group contact RIST at www.rist.com.au or phone (03) 5573 0956. View a video about LTEM at www.wool.com/LTEM