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Wagga forum aims to take some of the myths out of the sheep business

Sheep Central, June 22, 2015

GrahamCentreDO you know how many sheep are out there and why it is important?

NSW consultant Andrew Woods believes this understanding is fundamental to busting some myths that become extant in the sheep industry at times.

Mr Woods, from Independent Commodity Services, will be one of the speakers at the Graham Centre Sheep Forum at the Charles Sturt University Convention Centre at Wagga Wagga on July 10.

He will be examining the correlations between sheep numbers and the supply of wool and sheep meat, and through that, the effect on prices.

“I think it is one of those things you have just got to keep talking about because it tends to get overlooked.”

Industry surveys are unco-ordinated

Mr Woods said various surveys are conducted in the industry annually – by ABS, ABARES and AWI – but they are not co-ordinated.

“The risk is that we end up like New Zealand where wool market reporting is absent and wool production data is scarce – something of a production information black hole.

“So it is possible for these things to fall off the radar and not to be seen as worthy of pointing farmers towards,” he said.

“It is worthwhile because it takes some of the myths out of the market.”

Fine wool production is one example, where over the last couple of years prices have been under real pressure, Mr Woods said.

“But when you look at it something like something two thirds of the pressure can be explained by production increase and because it was dry, but because seem to think that all the signal is coming from the demand side … in this case it is not true at all.”

Knowing sheep and wool supply helps producers be strategic

Knowing how many sheep are out there can help producers be strategic, Mr Woods said.

“It just helps people draft up various theories that get thrown at them into ‘that’s ridiculous’ or ‘that makes a bit sense’.”

He said producers need to understand if the sheep meat or wool price signals are coming from the supply or demand side of the industry.

“If they can have a better understanding of why prices are doing what they are doing, whether it is just a cyclical thing driven by a couple of dry years or is it more structural and coming from the demand, that will just help them make a better decision.

“If we better understand what’s going on in our backyard that is the cheapest and easiest market intelligence we can put together.”

Speakers will also cover planning for profit and biosecurity

Other speakers at the forum include Sandy McEachern from Holmes Sackett on ‘Planning a profitable sheep enterprise’; Louise Pearce from the Livestock Biosecurity Network with Tim Biffin from Local Land Services, Riverina, on ‘Biosecurity of the ovine persuasion’, and; Charles Sturt University’s Belinda Hackney and Mike O’Hare from Beckom will speak on ‘Hard-seeded legumes – their fit in mixed farming systems’.

Producer case studies that will be outlined at the forum will include: Swan Hill producer Tim Mullholland on ‘Pushing the boundary of Merino genetics – the composite approach’ and Jugiong breeder Michael Field on ‘Contract ram breeding and wool handling’.

The forum will be open from 8.30am for a 9am start and will finish at 1pm. Cost is $25.

Pre-pay at: www.trybooking.com/HROF or pay on the day. Includes morning tea and lunch.

RSVP by 3 July 2015 www.grahamcentre.net Toni Nugent: [email protected] | 02 6933 4402

Source: Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation.

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