The Central Murray BestWool BestLamb Group is running Lifetime Ewe (LTE) courses for eight groups across the region. LTE is a practical course focusing specifically on the nutrition and health issues associated with the ewe and develops participant skills in sheep assessment and feed budgeting, based on key information from the Lifetime Wool project.
Lifetime Ewe involves groups of around 4 to 6 producers meeting in 6 ‘hands-on’ sessions over 12 months, with a trained LTEM facilitator. LTE Groups are spread geographically throughout the region.
During these meetings, the group visits each participating farm and learns skills in condition scoring, pasture assessment and best practice management to increase lambing performance and wool production. It is structured to maximise knowledge retention, skills development and practice change. Each producer monitors a mob of their own ewes to demonstrate the effects of ewe nutrition and management in their environment. LTEM has proven results to increase on-farm productivity and profitability as follows;
·Increased whole-farm stocking rates by 11% to13%;
·Increased lamb marking percentages by 10% to 14% depending on enterprise type;
·Decreased annual ewe mortality rates by up 43%;
·Overall, increased number of lambs weaned per hectare by up to 30%;
·Increased farm profit every year by up to $10 per ewe (based on current market prices), for Merino and maternal flocks in the high rainfall and sheep wheat zones (ignoring potential gains in stocking rate);
The course is supported by Sheep CRC, in partnership with Rural Industries Skills Training (RIST), as well as Murray Local Land Services with funding through the Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme. Lifetime Ewe Management (LTEM) and is a nationally accredited course.
Below: Interview with David McDonald (LTEM participant), tlaks about the benefits of the LTEM course with interviewee Genevieve Reardon,Senior Lands Services Officer – Livestock, Murray Local Land Services, Albury