Aboriginal sheep producers learning best practice

Merino

The hands-on nature of the program helps participants retain the information and skills they learn on each producer’s mob of ewes and allows for on-farm monitoring and benchmarking.

The Lifetime Ewe Management year 2 course has continued momentum with a group of Aboriginal sheep producers continuing their participation, with a second workshop in WA.

Dowrene Farm and Banjelungup Aboriginal corporations and Woolkabunning Kiaka (Roelands) were involved in the second workshop at Dowrene Farm in Cranbrook on 24 May. They will participate in a further four workshops throughout the year.

Lifetime Ewe Management (LTEM) is a nationally accredited course involving groups which meet for ‘hands-on’ workshops over a one year period.

Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development research officer Perry Dolling said the training promoted best practice management for ewes to increase on-farm productively and profitability.

“Producers have to complete LTEM to participate in the second module, so the current group has already gained the necessary skills and knowledge to improve a flock’s reproductive performance and optimise ewe stocking rates,” he said.

“LTEM2 has more of a focus on the whole-of-farm implications of managing the ewe flock and involves preparing ewes and rams for the next reproductive cycle, feeding sheep in tough times, optimising lambing results and undertaking a cost-benefit analysis of managing sheep to LTEM targets.”

Dr Dolling, who facilitates the workshops, said the focus of the recent workshop was on feeding in dry times, including the use of containment areas, while the first workshop focused on achieving condition score targets over the following 30 days.

“The hands-on nature of the program helps participants retain the information and skills they learn on each producer’s mob of ewes and allows for on-farm monitoring and benchmarking,” he said.

“Workshops involve condition scoring, pasture assessing and feed budgeting activities that are practical and applicable to each farm business, and the importance and effects of ewe nutrition on the performance of both the ewe and her progeny.”

Dr Dolling said the principles of LTEM2 training could assist industry in rebuilding the State’s sheep flock from its current low level and provide increased market opportunities.

“By decreasing ewe mortality and increasing lambing percentage, more sheep and replacement ewes will be available, enabling farm business to increase their sheep flock at a quicker rate,” he said.

The LTEM2 training is coordinated by Rural Industry Skills Training (RIST), supported by the department as part of the Sheep Industry Business Innovation project, and primarily funded and supported by Australian Wool Innovation.

For more information on the LTEM year 1 program, which is subsidised for eligible participants by Australian Wool Innovation, or LTEM2, contact Brydie Creagh, Lifetime Ewe Manager Coordinator, on 9892 8470 or 0400 814 306 or email bcreagh@rist.edu.au.

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