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

Making More From Sheep

1. News:

New Lice test available

Sheep Lice can be very difficult to detect by eye, especially when the population is low. As a result, many producers treat for lice even when the flock is not infected, just as a precaution. Surveys suggest that up to 80% of flocks are treated annually despite only about 30% having lice. Individual mobs can now be tested for the presence of lice by getting a Sheep Lice Detection Test kit from Industry & Investment NSW. Each kit costs $130.15 and allows for the testing of 250 sheep by checking for lice protein trapped in wool grease washed off combs and cutters. Sample collection can easily be done in the shed and sent off for testing. Call Industry and Investment NSW on (02) 4640 6433 to order one or more kits, or have a look at the  LiceSense Booklet to see how to best use the test and how it fits into an overall lice management program. LiceSense is an AWI extension project educating chemical resellers, woolbrokers and growers on lice management. Hard copies of the LiceSense booklet are available from the AWI helpline on 1800 070 099.

Match making made easy

With the release of the Pedigree MatchMaker, sheep producers can now match lambs to their mums in the paddock, helping to provide full pedigree information. The system records the identity of ewes and lambs via their etags in time-order as they pass a reader in the paddock, then links ewes and lambs according to how often a particular lamb follows a particular ewe. 
For more information on the system read the Sheep CRC media release.


Figuring out how to select rams 

A series of ram selection workshops held in NSW have helped producers learn to use Australian Sheep Breeding Values to meet their breeding objectives. Seventeen sheep producers participated in the most recent workshop held at "Rosevale", prior to the annual Hazeldean Merino Riverina Ram Sale (pictured). To find out about ram selection workshops near you contact your Making More From Sheep State Coordinator.

2. R & D Update:

Release of new Australian Sheep Breeding Values from Sheep Genetics 

Sheep Genetics is the national genetic evaluation system for sheep, with LAMBPLAN covering terminal, maternal and dual purpose breeds, and MERINOSELECT covering Merinos. Sheep Genetics provides breeders and producers with information on the value of animals' genes in the form of Australian Sheep Breeding Values (ASBVs). ASBVs have recently been released for Lambing Ease and Early Breech Wrinkle. To find out more about how these new ASBVs can help you achieve your breeding objectives click here. Click the following links for more general information on LAMBPLAN or MERINOSELECT.

3. In Brief:

Ram Harnesses - old but good 

With technologies like ewe scanning and pedigree matchmaker, it is easy to forget about tried and true management aids like ram harnesses. Using ram harnesses at joining can be cheap insurance. It allows you to check that ewes are cycling and rams are working. They can be particularly helpful if using a low  percentage of rams. They can also assist to identify non-pregnant ewes and enable ewes to be split into lambing groups. For more tips on managing the reproductive cycle, see Module 10 - Wean More Lambs in the Making More From Sheep manual. 

Meat Quality and Glycogen

With large numbers of sucker lambs being turned off at this time of year, factors affecting carcase quality and value should be front-of-mind for lamb producers. One such factor is the glycogen (animal sugar) level in muscle tissue. Low glycogen level leads to meat that is tough, has a high pH, poor flavour and poorer keeping quality. To ensure adequate glycogen levels aim for a weight gain of at least 100g/day for crossbred lambs and 150g/day for merinos. The other important factor in maintaining glycogen levels is management of animals for minimum stress. For more information on factors affecting carcase value and quality see tool 3.7 from the Making More From Sheep manual.

4. Coming Events

Over 5000 sheep producers have now attended events on various Making More From Sheep modules. These events may be small workshops, large seminars or webinars (a seminar that you attend on your computer and phone without leaving home). The one thing these events all have in common is that after participating you will be able to implement at least one of the management practices or tools from the Making More From Sheep manual on your property. Examples of coming events include:
- Market Focused Lamb and Wool Production, with an emphasis on forward selling and market outlook on Nov 24 near Mortlake, Victoria.
- Wean More Lambs and Healthy Soils. Focusing on lamb survival and fertiliser use on November 25th in the Ovens Valley, Vic.
- Turn Pasture into Product. Focusing on supplementary feeding on December 11th at Longreach, Qld.

See the Events Page on the website for more details.

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