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

1. News:

Lambs Alive: A hands-on approach to optimising lamb survival using a postmortem tool

MMFS has recently financed the development of a new tool that will help sheep producers identify and overcome key factors that are impacting on lamb survival during late pregnancy and the first week of life. The tool will be trialled this autumn and will be ready for the peak of the lambing season through winter and spring. The tool outlines the step-by-step process of carrying out an on-farm lamb postmortem and highlights the important observations required in order to determine the likely cause of death. Instruction in the use of the tool will be by local vets at MMFS field days. Downloading the introduction to the tool will give you an idea of what's involved. If you'd like to register interest in having an event in your area contact your MMFS State Coordinator.

NSW Wool Industry & Future Opportunities report

A report commissioned by the NSW Government on the future of the wool industry has recently been released. While the report focuses on NSW many of the issues canvassed and recommendations made are likely to be of interest to wool producers in other states. As well as the development of the situation analysis and consideration of its implications resulting in recommendations, the report also provides four short but interesting scenarios of how the industry may develop over the next 10 years, providing plenty of food for thought. The report, along with background papers and a feedback survey (aimed at NSW sheep producers) can be found

Sheep Health workshops in the Riverina

Over 50 sheep producers recently attended sessions about managing for healthy and contented sheep at Moulamein and Wakool, supported by MMFS and Murray Local Land Services. Geoff Duddy from Sheep Solutions and Dan Salmon, Regional Vet from Murray Local Land Services took participants through many of the elements of effective animal health and nutritional management. Take home messages included:
  • A 10% increase in weaning rate will normally result in increased profit margins from 13-25%, depending on enterprise.
  • 80% of the cost of worms is unseen. Testing to assess worm burden and drench resistance status is essential to avoiding major production losses

Photo: Dan Salmon, Regional Vet from Murray Local Land Services discussing drench resistance

Sheep CRC Update: Data drives early intervention for flock management

Research from the Sheep CRC is investigating the use of improved electronic identification systems to drive early intervention for "at risk" animals. The collection and use of the individual animal data has also been shown to be effective in identifying a flock's most productive animals, enabling better joining decisions. For further information click here.

2. R & D Update:

Making more all round

Anyone who has attended a Making More From Sheep event will be aware of the emphasis that is put on program evaluation. In addition to the evaluation conducted at events, more detailed evaluations are done at the end of each funding round. A report containing the results of 179 phone surveys and 47 case studies on farmer participants in MMFS between October 2010 and July 2013 has just been released. The report focuses on management changes made by participating farmers and the impact of these changes. The results showed improved animal welfare, less manager stress and an average annual net income increase of $11,900 per business. Click herefor a short article expanding on the results.

3. Management Tips:

Three score or more

  • Ewe condition score needs to be at least score three at lambing to minimise mortality and optimise wool and meat production of progeny
  • Ewes can manage a fall from condition score three at joining to 2.7 at day 90 of pregnancy where quality pasture is available to allow a gain in weight back to condition score three for late pregnancy
  • Single bearing ewes can be too fat at at lambing and their condition should not exceed score 4. Twin bearing ewes are rarely at risk of being too fat due to higher nutritional demand

For further information see the condition scoring page on the Lifetime Wool website at:

4. Coming Events

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 help 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.

Examples of coming events include:

Sheep handling equipment field day, April 30, Campbell Town, Tas., contact Leanne Sherriff on 0429 329 349

Sheep and cattle health and biosecurity workshop, Sassafras, Tas., contact leanne Sherriff on 0429329349

See the Making More From Sheep events page on the website for more details.

Photo: Andrew Speirs from Meridian Ag discussing productive pastures for low rainfall areas at Kaarimba