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Wool Stocktake : AWI Annual Report 2017-18
REPRODUCTION INVESTMENT FOCUS Lift the lifetime reproductive performance of Merino ewes through: • Refinement and further delivery of the Lifetime Ewe Management (LTEM) package. • Improving guidelines to target nutrition to the most responsive ewes in the flock. • Increasing the use of flock monitoring technology to identify high priority ewes. • Increasing the understanding of the impacts of lambing density on ewe behaviour associated with twin lamb survival. • Developing information to target selection and culling of ewes and rams to increase lifetime reproductive performance. STRATEGIC TARGETS Targets for three-year period 2016/17 to 2018/19 Progress during 2017/18 1. An extra 1,500 AWI-funded participants in LTEM (500 per annum), representing 15% of the adult ewe flock in Australia, that increase lamb weaning rates by 7%, and reduce ewe mortality by 30%. On target. More than 1,000 new enrolments during the current strategic period. 2. At least 250 producers engaged in determining the impact of lambing density (ewe mob size and stocking rate) on lamb survival. On target. Project expanded to include 15 trial sites with low stocking rates, taking the total trial sites to 85 with a network of 261 producers. 3. Develop strategies and guidelines for improving weaner and maiden ewe performance. On target. In consultation with producers, a one-day weaner best practise workshop, Winning With Weaners, has been developed and released. KEY RESULTS DURING 2017/18 • AWI’s support of Lifetime Ewe Management continues to prove popular amongst woolgrowers. The LTEM course aims to increase producers’ understanding of the influence of ewe nutrition and management on overall reproduction rates and lamb and ewe survival. Producers develop the skills to manage their ewes to achieve condition score targets and explore the benefits of supplementary feeding and pasture management to review stocking rates. Since LTEM began, more than 4,300 producers have undertaken the course, through 745 groups. Evaluation of the program’s benefits is currently under way. John and Jenny Ridley, who run 1,550 Merino ewes at Forbes in NSW, have undertaken an LTEM course and achieved excellent productivity improvements. • AWI has developed three new workshops to aid woolgrowers in identifying key practical actions for their enterprises to implement on-farm to achieve improved productivity. Each one-day workshop, developed in conjunction with the Woolgrower Services portfolio, is designed to run as a single event, while complementing the other workshops to provide woolgrowers with support for important management decisions: o The Realising Performance Potential workshop is aimed at lifting lifetime performance from their Merino ewes. It assists the commercial self-replacing Merino production sector in recognising and placing appropriate importance on the total lifetime productivity potential and value of their Merino ewes (fleece, meat, surplus stock) and aims to achieve a minimum weaning rate of 95% from Merino joinings. o The Winning With Weaners workshop is aimed at lifting lifetime performance from their Merino ewes through improved management of their weaners. It assists participants in understanding the key issues affecting weaner survival and performance, and guides them through developing targets for growth. The workshops discuss factors that contribute to weaner mortality and illthrift, and provides practical pathways for improving performance from this group of sheep. o RAMping Up Repro is a hands-on workshop focussed on improving ram performance and working longevity in commercial sheep enterprises. The workshop is designed to increase the skill of producers across the key components of ram performance and impacts on overall breeding enterprise performance, including anatomy, physiology, spermatogenesis, metabolic demands, health, disease and biosecurity and the financial impact of the ram team. 30 REPORT OF 2017/18 OPERATIONS – SHEEP PRODUCTION
AWI Annual Report 2016-17