Lamb Production

Ewe management course gets $800,000 boost

Terry Sim, July 30, 2014

A ewe management course that has boosted lamb and sheep survival across Australia will be expanded in pastoral areas with an $800,000 investment announced this week.

ewe and lambs 2Sheep producers in pastoral areas of New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria will now be able to take the Lifetime Ewe Management Course with the extension of funding out to 2017 by Australian Wool Innovation.

More than 2000 sheep producers managing over 20 per cent of the nation’s ewe flock or eight million ewes have done the LTEM course, now delivered by Rural Industries Skill Training from its Hamilton, Victoria, base.

The average LTEM participant manages just over 3500 ewes and has increased whole farm lamb marking by 10 percent, reduced ewe mortality by 33pc and increased stocking rate by 12pc.

AWI said the latest round of funding will assist the training of up to 600 more sheep producers in 120 groups as demand for the course continues, particularly in pastoral country.

RIST’s national LTEM manager Darren Gordon said the AWI investment would enable expansion in existing areas, particularly pastoral regions.

A big growth area for LTEM this year has been Victoria’s Wimmera-Mallee region, he said.

“This is an area that we haven’t cracked before with its strong reliance on cropping.

“We are obviously seeing more sheep come back into their systems, from a resilience point of view.”

The two-year nationally accredited course involves small groups of farmers learning from each other through on-farm facilitated activities such as condition scoring, pasture assessment and feed budgeting. Producers learn to best match the energy requirements of animals with pasture production and supplementary feeding to maximise animal welfare and production.

West Australian woolgrower, Alex Coole at Franklind, said the LTEM course has improved her practical skills and assessments, and given her a better understanding of feed budgeting and the importance of sheep energy requirements.

AWI has been the principal funder of LTEM and the Lifetime Wool research project it evolved from, contributing more than $10 million over the last 12 years.

AWI research general manager Paul Swan said the organisation was a proud developer and supporter of the LTEM program.

“It is a great example of where investment in initial research, its development and effective extension model has paid off handsomely for the woolgrowers we work for and will continue to generate benefits for years to come.”

The two-year nationally accredited course involves small groups of farmers learning from each other through on-farm facilitated activities such as condition scoring, pasture assessment and feed budgeting. Producers learn to best match the energy requirements of animals with pasture production and supplementary feeding to maximise animal welfare and production.

A LTEM Application for smartphones is now being trialled and on target for release later this year.

 

 

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