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TAS Country : August 5th 2010
Friday, August 6, 2010 Tasmanian Country 21 Stock Report Making More from Sheep Forum VIGILENCE: University of Melbourne senior lecturer Dr Stuart Barber checking for parasites. Regular testing for cost control THE cost of internal and exter- nal parasites cannot be ignored when it comes to productivity in the sheep industry. University of Melbourne senior lecturer Stuart Barber told participants at last week's Making More From Sheep fo- rum that parasites cost the Australian industry about $350 million a year. ''It doesn't matter how good the genetics or the EBVs are, if you have very sick sheep, they don't grow very fast,'' he said. Mr Barber said with the value of lamb at record high levels, poor internal parasite control could be costing up to $20 a head. With drench resistance be- coming an increasing problem across the country, Mr Barber said having drench resistance testing done on individual properties and flocks was rec- ommended. Mr Barber said risk factors that could exacerbate internal parasite problems included the sheeps' age, general health, availability of feed and access to clean worm-free pastures. Quarantine drenching all sheep that come onto the prop- erty is a good way to prevent new parasites being introduced. Mr Barber said farmers also needed to understand the yearly parasite cycles on their proper- ties and monitor stock regularly through fecal egg count testing. ''You want to know what you've got on your place as far as diseases, and how to control them,'' Mr Barber said., ''Worm control is about man- agement, not just chemicals.'' Lice resistance is also an emerging problem. When it comes to managing for flystrike without mulesing, Mr Barber said farmers may need to use extra crutching or chemicals to control flies. Alotofyouhavea heap of production on hand, it's just a matter of making use of it.' drop fix However actually getting those lambs to survive is the crucial factor and Mr Trompf said with the average survival rate for Merinos of 80 per cent for single lambs and 45 per cent for twins, there was plenty of room for improvement. Mr Trompf said better man- agement of ewes during late pregnancy and during lambing could have a big impact on lamb survival. ''Nutrition, especially in late pregnancy and leading up to lambing, is a big factor,'' he said. Mr Trompf said the economic impacts of large lamb losses each year was not the only factor involved. ''What I'm putting to you here is that the welfare outcomes and the economic outcomes run hand in hand,'' he said. ''A lot of you have a heap of production on hand, it's just a matter of making use of it.'' Mr Trompf said birth weights were also a critical factor when it came to survival and lambs needed to be at least 4.9kg at to have a good chance of survival. Bonding time between the ewes and lambs is also essential, so Mr Trompf said smaller lambing mobs with as little disturbance as possible was often the best strategy. If producers do need to sup- plementary feed lambing ewes, Mr Trompf said getting the sheep used to the feeding system well before lambing started was essential. Pregnancy scanning is also a very good tool to help better manage pregnant ewes. Mr Trompf said judging con- dition score by weight alone was not adequate. Research has shown there can be up to a 17kg difference in body weight for sheep with the same condition score. ''If you want to kill lambs and kill ewes then that's the way to do it,'' he said. ® Don t gamble with ordinary boom cleaners agnova.com.au ALLCLAD0510 Outperforms ordinary boom cleaners on: -- sulfonyl ureas eg. Brush Off* -- Hammer* -- grass herbicides Available from Roberts Rural Supplies stores. Registered trademark of Amega Sciences, U.K. * Registered trademarks The only boom cleaner with 3 way action
August 12th 2010