A group of local producers have taken the first steps towards increasing their on-farm productivity and profitability as Quality Wool and Livestock’s Lifetime Ewe Management Program hit the Adelaide Hills this week.
A nationally accredited course involving groups of five producers and six ‘hands-on’ sessions over 12 months, the program provides sheep producers with skills to improve their flock’s reproductive performance and optimise ewe stocking rates.
Tuesday October 17 marked the beginning of the course for the Hills group, consisting of Bill Cameron (Mt Torrens), Kym Thiele (Murray Bridge), Brenton Sauer (Waikerie), Aleck Zadow (Blanchetown) and Will McLachlan (Mt Pleasant).
Attendees gathered at the McLachlan family’s Rosebank property at Mt Pleasant for an introduction and presentation with program facilitator Dr Colin Trengove from the University of Adelaide’s School of Animal and Veterinary Sciences.
“We discussed pre-joining (mating) management as well as condition scoring ewes and feed on offer in the paddock they were grazing,” Dr Trengove said.
“This was followed by doing a feed budget to match the ewe’s energy needs with what was in the paddock.”
“We also examined the ram team to check their suitability (fertility) for mating, which is due to commence in two weeks.”
From there, the workshop moved to Bill Cameron’s property, located 20 kilometres south near Tungkillo, where they assessed the feed on offer in two of his paddocks.
We discussed pre-joining management as well as condition scoring ewes and feed on offer.Dr Colin Trengove
Dr Trengove said while the group was diverse both geographically and in farm type, they “were quite interactive and should function well.”
“It’s good that they all join at the same time, so the session information will coincide well with their reproduction program,” he said.
Participants will commence their next phase of the course early next year when they gather for a workshop at Aleck Zadow’s property ‘Bindamurra’ near Blanchetown on Friday, January 19.
Over 20 producers across South Australia are confirmed to take part in the Lifetime Ewe Management program, having initially registered their interest during Quality Wool and Livestock’s Bred Well Fed Well courses earlier this year, with participants divided into four geographical groups (Melrose, Jamestown, Waikerie and Adelaide Hills).