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Beyond the Bale : Oct - Nov 08
Ashley and Lucille Hobbs are striving for the well-balanced Merino. Productivity Beyond the Bale An important factor in his program is that removing poor performers from his flock is just as important as identifying the elite performers. Ashley suspects profit per hectare would not have risen by much over the years because of the exorbitant jump in input costs, but he said his economic traits measured through MERINOSELECT, including clean fleece weight, bodyweight and eye muscle, have each increased in value. “The trend line says we’re doing the right thing,” he says. About 80 per cent, or 1640 hectares, of ‘Ingle’ is arable and the Hobbses grow canola, barley and wheat, with a paddock of lupins or oats for fodder. Crops and pasture are planted in rotation and wether lambs are used as a “relief valve” for poor seasons. Ashley describes the past 12 months as “kind”, but says the previous couple of years were tough due to drought. “If there is adequate feed about, wether lambs are retained until their second shearing, otherwise they are sold after their first.” Paddocks are normally planted to winter crops Western Australian woolgrowers Lucille and Ashley Hobbs. PHOTOS: EvAN COLLIS twice before they are sown down to legume pastures, which benefit future cereal crops. Light country is only planted once every three years. Depending on the situation, the Hobbses are not averse to a year- in, year-out rotation. Pasture legume plant density is monitored during pasture years to establish if the rotation is sustainable. More information: Australian Merino Society, www.ausmerino.com.au; MERINOSELECT, www.sheepgenetics.org.au/merinoselect The use of sheep in the rotation helps to prevent ryegrass from becoming too competitive in the cropping phase, while cropping helps control spiky grass seeds for the pasture phase. Paddocks are sown down to a subclover pasture base, usually with some serradella and in some circumstances paddocks may be sown down to lucerne for four to five years. Ashley thinks he will need to take even more interest in his pasture base now he has ceased mulesing, and plans to use crutching and internal parasite control as blowfly strike management tools. “We will need to be more vigilant – more on top of internal parasite control and more on top of the pasture composition and the likely effects both will have on the sheep’s digestive system – because the last thing we need is dags,” Ashley says. “The dag control can be made easier through the use of genetics, though it won’t be the solution on its own. Nutrition is also important. In my experience, a healthy sheep can fight worms much more easily than one put under nutrition stress. “We all know a fair amount, but we are going to have to know more and understand why our sheep are reacting the way they are, whether it is a nutritional or parasitological problem.” ú Protecting your sheep against OJDis now easier Gudair® , Australia’s only vaccine for lifetime control of OJD, is now available from selected rural retailers. Many rural retailers in NSW, VIC and TAS are now making it easier for you to purchase all your sheep vaccination requirements froma Gudair® accredited staff member at accredited retail outlets. To fi nd where your nearest Gudair® please visit www.gudair.com stockist is located User Safety Information: Care should be taken to avoid accidental self-injection as severe injury may result. Prior to use always read the safety directions enclosed in the packaging. For more information about a Gudair® Pfi zer Australia Pty Ltd. 38-42 Wharf Road, West Ryde NSW 2114. ® Trademark of CZ Veterinaria S.A. OGILVY HEALTHWORD PAGU0017BTB vaccination program talk to your Pfi zer Professional Sales Representative. Freecall: 1800 335 374
Dec 08 - Jan 09
Aug - Sep 08