Making More from Sheep Australian Wool Innovation Limited Meat & Livestock Australia
Making More from Sheep
Making More From Sheep

1. News:

Merino Superior Sires 18 Released

The latest Merino Superior Sires report has been released onto the Merino Superior Sires website and can be downloaded now at

Inside Merino Superior Sires this year, you will find some significant changes.

Firstly, three new MERINOSELECT indexes have been included. These new indexes are the Dual Purpose Plus (DP+), Merino Production Plus (MP+) and Fibre Production Plus (FP+) indexes. These new indexes, that will replace the previous MERINOSELECT indexes in Merino Superior Sires, have been introduced by Sheep Genetics to incorporate more recent economic data on wool and meat prices. Also, the previously published Top 25s have been extended to include the Top 50 sires ranked for each of the three new indexes.

Hard copies of Merino Superior Sires are available from Ben Swain by calling: 0427 100 542

National OJD Management Plan 2012 - 2017

An updated ovine Johne's disease website is being developed to ensure the content supports the revised national plan which will start on 1 January 2013. The website is being updated as information about the revised plan becomes available. The revised OJD Management Plan does away with the existing classifications of High, Medium and Low Prevalence Areas. All areas will default to Control Areas unless regional groups successfully apply for Protected Area status. For further information download the "What you need to know" factsheet or visit the website at

2. R & D Updates:

Can livestock grazing benefit biodiversity?

Grazing by livestock has irreversibly degraded many natural ecosystems in Australia. On the other hand, ecologists have recommended that stock continue to graze in certain types of reserves. How can grazing livestock benefit biodiversity in some places but not others? For information on the circumstances that need to be met in grazing for conservation purposes click this link for a review by Associate Professor Ian Lunt from Charles Sturt University.

Planning to manage feed requirements through booms and busts

When planning to capitalise on a good season or limit risk in a seasonal dry spell or drought, a risk management plan based on a strategy to achieve clear targets is essential. Decision making in these situations is not easy due to the complexity of the interacting factors involved. Fortunately, computer based decision support tools are available to assist in the process. Click this link for an article on the use of some of these tools by Greg Meaker, who is a livestock officer with the New South Wales Department of Primary Industries.

3. In Brief:

Keeping Ovine Brucellosis out of your flock

Recent positive tests, and ongoing concerns that the disease is spreading throughout New South Wales, has prompted the NSW Livestock Health and Pest Authorities (LHPA) to encourage all sheep producers to test their rams for ovine brucellosis. This also serves as a reminder to sheep producers in other states to only buy rams from Ovine Brucellosis Accredited Studs and also regularly check rams.

Ovine brucellosis is a venereal disease caused by the bacterium Brucella ovis. It causes lumps and scars in the ram's testicles, which can block the flow of sperm. This can result in reduced fertility or infertility, lower lambing percentages, longer joining and lambing intervals, and consequent economic losses. Infected rams spread the disease during joining through the ewe or off-season through mounting each-other. There is no effective treatment for ovine brucellosis. Further information on ovine brucellosis is available from your state department website.

Work-life balance

With the festive season upon us many people are thinking of family and holidays. However, with hay to be carted, sheep to be shorn and crops to be harvested on many properties, the festive season can be a time of stress and heavy workloads in many farm businesses. Taking time-out to consider your work-life balance is a good starting point for making some New Year's resolutions. Tool 4.6 in the Making More from Sheep manual is a simple framework to help you consider how you are going in relation to the issues of work, family, you, time and money.

4. Coming Events

Dr Angus Campbell delivering a Wean More Lambs Session to the Euroa Grazing Group (BWBL)

Making More from Sheep runs a range of events mostly aimed at small groups/audiences of sheep producers looking to improve skills and knowledge on a topic of local interest. State Coordinators are available to organise events and presenters to suit local needs and are keen to work with groups, facilitators or service providers for single events or a series of activities. For further information contact your state coordinator.

Planning is underway for Making More from Sheep events for 2013. Keep an eye on the events page for details as they come to hand.