In March 2021, 30 local sheep farmers attended two Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) Bred Well Fed Well Workshops at “Scotsburn” in Mallan and “Lauridale” in Wakool. This popular course was also run locally in 2017.
The hands-on workshops delivered by Geoff Duddy from Sheep Solutions and supported by Western Murray Land Improvement Group (WMLIG) were centered around breeding and feeding to make more money.
Topics included breeding better ewes, improving ewe nutrition, developing a feeding goal, and developing a feeding budget.
The groups were taken through an overview of selecting rams based on industry standard Australian Sheep Breeding Values (ASBVs). ASBVs allow the buyer to select for traits of interest and accounts for known environmental influences on performance and provides the likely impact of the animal’s genes to a breeding program.
With these statistics in mind but not on hand, the group were asked to take their best guess from a mob of rams picking the highest and lowest performing in different categories. The results indicated the importance of using objective measures to make informed ram selection decisions.
The main takeaway for one attendee was "don't be afraid of paying up for superior genetics if the increase in production justifies the increase in price”.