A recently completed Lifetime Ewe Management group (‘Oxley’) in south western NSW has shown that many of the LTEM principles can be applied within these regions but has also provided feedback on the need for ‘tweaking’ of the pasture base/nutritional needs of the current program.
The ‘Oxley’ LTEM Group consisted of Shane McGufficke and Bill Ryan (Oxley), Tim Brindley (Magenta), Roger Job (Mossgiel) and Simon Booth (Booligal). The group collectively manage an estimated 189,720 hectares, approximately 41,000 breeding ewes with an average stocking rate of one breeding ewe per 4-5 hectares.
The Oxley group members have shown that it is possible to implement many of the LTEM principles and skills learnt during the course within pastoral/rangeland areas, with all now actively condition scoring ewes, scanning for litter size and supplementary or containment feeding stock when necessary.
Simon Booth, for example, is implementing LTEM principles to manage ewes in containment areas to improve conception rates, ewe condition and survival during the current drought.
Simon, his wife Caroline and their four children manage ‘Humewood’, a 22,000 hectare property 40km west of Booligal.
Principally a self-replacing Merino wool operation with culls/cast for age ewes joined to terminal sires, ‘Humewood’ normally receives about 300mm of rain annually. In 2017 and 2018, only 270mm and 120mm were recorded respectively. This placed considerable pressure on both their pasture base and ewe flock.
Historically they have supplementary fed during dry periods in an effort to maintain ewe condition, retain ground cover and reduce damage to pastures and topsoil. Preferring pulses over cereal grains, he has found there to be less wastage when trail feeding, fewer health issues (such as acidosis) and it easier to introduce sheep to a full grain ration.