MAKING Merinos more sustainable and profitable will be the focus of a St Arnaud Victorian Farmers Federation event in the Wimmera town on March 21.
St Arnaud VFF branch president Colin Coates said the first Merino Gold update two years ago was organised “because there are not enough Merino ewes around Australia.”
The 2017 event attracted 130 people. Mr Coates is hoping to emulate this and had initially investigated getting Lambassador Sam Kekovich to the event. But $5000 plus accommodation and transport
Sam’s availability was not the issue, it was whether the branch could afford the charismatic lamb promoter without Meat & Livestock Australia assistance, Mr Coates said.
“He would have drawn a helluva crowd – from down the street they would come and here him.”
Mr Coates even looked into getting a grant from beyondblue to fund Sam’s attendance, but to justify this the Lambassador would have to be scheduled to speak for an hour.
“We just didn’t have the time to get all that together.
“We’ve had a major drought so we are talking about a bit of a social exercise here, getting people here,” he said.
“This event has got a heap of potential if people would only see the vision.”
Speakers at the event will include Australian Wool Innovation’s general manager, wool grower engagement, Marius Cuming, on markets, and defending and promoting the wool industry.
A session by Productive Nutrition’s San Jolly on finishing lambs on crops has been supported by the Birchip Cropping Group.
President of the Australian Association of Stud Merinos Breeders Peter Meyer will open the day at the St Arnaud Sporting Club pavilion at 2pm and outline the Merino trials that are being conducted. Executive officer of the Australian Merino Sire Evaluation Association, Ben Swain, will speak on AMSEA trials and utilising data.
VFF Livestock councillor Ben Duxson will cover some of the issues the federation’s Livestock Group is working on.
A Gallagher representative will outline the benefits of using electronic tag reading wands and Zoetis will outline best practice vaccination of lambs.
The update will also feature the judging of six teams of commercial maiden Merino ewes — organised by agents Elders, Rodwells and Landmark – from district flocks. After the judging, the two judges will comment on the sheep with the help of the owners, Mr Coates said. Prizes will be awarded for the pen of the shed and the sheep of the show, depending on sponsors.
The cost for the event is $20 per person and a barbeque will be provided at the club on Charlton Road, St Arnaud. People are asked to RSVP with Barry Batters on 0418 567 674 or Mr Coates on 0427 693 329.