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Beyond the Bale : December 2012
36 36 September 2010 Beyond the Bale 36 on-Farm Sheep producers on the Eyre Peninsula and Mallee of South Australia have attended Farm Innovation Days to get ideas on ways to improve on-farm infrastructure and management practices within their sheep businesses. Run by the AWI state network SheepConnect SA, the events aimed to increase sheep producers’ knowledge and understanding of how to reduce labour and lift profits. A total of 624 producers and industry stakeholders attended seven events – mostly hosted by local sheep producers – in Murray Town, Coomandook, Turretfield, Willalooka (completed in April 2012) and Lameroo, Cummins and Cleve (completed October 2012). The events consisted of a series of presentations in the morning covering issues relevant to improving the sheep enterprise and labour saving options, followed in the afternoon by practical demonstrations of the latest range of machinery and innovation displays for sheep management. The innovations included auto drafters and weighers, sheep handlers, auto jetters, shearing equipment, BioClip, sheep crutchers, pregnancy scanning, December 2012 Beyond the Bale Sheep handling innovations Fast Facts l SheepConnect SA supported by AWI has coordinated and undertaken farm innovation days to promote sheep handling innovations. l The events focused on labour saving opportunities to increase profits within the sheep business. l The events included working demonstrations of the latest sheep handling machinery and innovations. Pedigree Matchmaker, and electronic identification systems. As the events were hosted on-farm, sheep were used to demonstrate the practical application of the innovations. There were also displays from Natural Resources Management Boards, Agri- resellers, AWI, PIRSA Biosecurity SA, National Livestock Identification Scheme (NLIS) and animal health companies. Speakers included agribusiness consultant Ken Solly of Solly Business Services who discussed labour efficiencies and costing out of infrastructure improvements for sheep enterprises. Jason Trompf of JT Agri-source presented on easy care and productive sheep and their management. Brendan Loechel of farm equipment manufacturer Magnus Australia informed the audience what to look for when considering investing in a new shearing shed or sheep yards and how to decide whether to modify existing set-ups or consider a new design. Mr Loechel says new innovations in sheep yard and shed design can assist producers to make the job of working with sheep a lot easier. "The yard and shed designs of today include all the latest technologies which are so much better than before," Mr Loechel said. " The new designs are more focused on saving time. You know the job that you need to do, and you want to be able to just get in and do it. Most yards are designed now so that they can be operated as a one man and a dog team." Wool producer Don Baillie from Tumby Bay on the Eyre Peninsula attended the Turretfield event in April to get design ideas for renovating his shearing shed and yards, plus he was interested in sheep handling equipment. “ We were keen to introduce raised boards to our shed and wanted to get opinions on the most appropriate height and depth of the board, and information on drop chutes,” Mr Baillie said. “ It was very useful to talk to people at the innovation day about their experience and get their views. We also benefited from hearing about options for yard designs. “ I also attended the Cummins event with my son Julian. We enjoyed the day immensely and as a result of attending were motivated enough to take action to make working with sheep easier on our property. “ The renovation of our shed is now complete and we’ve had new yards built. We’ve had our first shearing, and we’re pleased that our investment in the shed and yards is making our sheep handling and our shearing operation easier and more efficient.” More information: www.sheepconnectsa.com.au david willersdorf demonstrates the capabilities of the racewell sheep handler to producers at the cummins Farm innovations day.