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TAS Country : May 3rd 2012
22 Tasmanian Country Friday, May 4, 2012 The Stock Report Promise in early joining KAROLIN MacGREGOR EFFICIENCY: Joining ewes earlier has potential benefits says Cesar Rosales Nieto EARLY joining could be the solution to rebuilding the country's sheep flock. A project looking at early joining of Merino ewes is now under way and the early results look promising. Postgraduate student Cesar Rosales Nieto is currently looking at whether joining ewes at between 8-10 months in- stead of the traditional 18 months has potential econ- omic benefits. ''My research is import- ant because it addresses an aspect of the pro- duction system that has the potential to improve efficiency for sheep pro- ducers,'' he said. ''Breeding ewes at 8-10 months of age has a number of potential advantages.'' The project started in 2009 and is being funded through Western Aust- ralia's Department of Agri- culture and Food, Meat and Livestock Australia, and the Cooperative Re- search Centre for Sheep Industry Innovation. In 2011, the Australian sheep flock fell to 1950s levels due to poor wool prices, adverse weather conditions, high grain prices and high labour requirements. The level of sheep supply, particularly in Western Australia, is now a major problem and it is at present not possible to meet the requirements of exporters and processors. ''The sheep industry needs to improve the re- productive efficiency of the ewe flock to meet current and future demands for slaughter lambs, live sheep and lambs for export,'' Mr Nieto said. ''The majority of lambs still come from Merino dams while there has been a shift toward more specialist meat breeds.'' Mr Nieto said previous research had shown that while it was possible to mate ewes at between 8- 10 months of age, the results were highly variable. Therefore strict manage- ment guidelines were needed to improve the like- lihood of success. To develop these guidelines, Mr Nieto said it was essential to identify critical ages, liveweights and body condition scores. ''Our research has shown that under the right management conditions, fertility rates of 75 per cent can be achieved,'' he said. To achieve these high fertility rates, merino ewe lambs need to be more than 45kg at the start of joining and gain more than 100g a day during the joining period. This requires good nu- tritional management as well as the right genetics for good growth rates. However, lambing ewes a year earlier can increase their lifetime reproductive performance by about 20 per cent. Mr Nieto said while the costs of additional feeding needed to be set against the lifetime reproductive per- formance, the overall ben- efits appeared to outweigh the management inputs. Restockers active at Killafaddy THERE was a larger total yarding of 240 trade and export cattle at Killafaddy on Tuesday, with almost half being yearling steers and heifers. There were very few vealers and they sold from 187c to 199c/kg while the trade paid 170c to 190c/kg for yearling steers and 166c to 195c/kg for heifers. Restockers bought three quarters of the year- ling steers at 165c to 191c/kg, or $677 to $901/head. There were 50 grown steers, heifers and bull- ocks and with only one exporter active prices were around 4c/kg chea- per. Grown steers made 155c to 175c/kg and heavy bullocks 150c to 164c/kg while heavy export heifers sold for 140c to 154c/kg, liveweight. There was a smaller yarding of 52 cows and heavy beef types made 120c to 129c/kg to average 10c/kg cheaper while res- tockers bought the rest for 110c to 123c/kg, or $468 to $638/head. There was a very small penning of 465 lambs with a large percentage being bought as stores. A couple of pens of extra heavy lambs made $109 to $117, heavy $100 to $107, trade $90 to $106 and light trade $80 to $95 a head. Lambskin prices have dropped quickly, with most quoted between $7 and $10 each. Store buyers bought well-bred lambs for $70 to $83 a head. There was a small yarding of about 350 mut- ton and most met a chea- per market with only one exporter active. Light sheep made $20 to $41, medium weights $47 to $60 and heavy ewes $50 to $56 a head. Richard Bailey Lambs push profits TERRY SIM LAMB weaning percent- age is the driver of gross margin if a sheep enterp- rise has a low wool value, an analysis of meat and wool-based en- terprises has found. The GrassGro analy- sis of various sheep mat- ings by Mackinnon Proj- ect senior research fellow Lisa Warn, pres- ented at a recent Elders Sire Evaluation progeny field day near Edenhope, Victoria, found first- cross ewes and maternal composite ewes needed to achieve 130 per cent lamb weanings to have a higher gross margin than a well-managed fine Merino enterprise. The analysis com- pared fine and strong Merino to Merino mat- ings, Merino to terminal sire, SAMM (South Af- rican Mutton Merinos), Dohnes, maternal com- posites self-replacing and first cross-terminal enterprises. Ms Warn said choice of sheep breed was less important than what managers did with the breeds within their sys- tem. She said weaning per- centage was the big driver of meat income per hectare after stock- ing rate. Gross margins would increase with a higher weaning, but extra lambs were not ''free'' and had to be fed. ''I think the funda- mentals are the same and a lot of things are a bit of a distraction,'' she said. ''People drift off chas- ing a silver bullet, think- ing another breed or direction is going to magically solve all their problems. ''I suppose the biggest thing is getting the pro- per data on the new thing that you are chas- ing; what data is there, is it substantiated?'' Ms Warn's analysis found that a dual- purpose enterprise --- wool and meat --- was a good strategy, with the ability to opportunisti- cally optimise wool cut and meat yield from a Merino flock. She said if meat prices were high and wool prices were low, pro- ducers could join some ewes to terminals and run less wethers, but if wool returns were good, wethers could be re- tained. Ms Warn said there was enough diversity in Merino genetics to select sires with good wool and meat traits without hav- ing to change to Dohnes and SAMMs. Weekly Times TASMANIAN SANTA GERTRUDIS BREEDERS Danny Slater 03 6330 2274 or 0437302266 June Pilcher 03 6259 5543 SANTA GERTRUDIS BREEDERS ASSOCIATION Brisbane 07 32162708 Email firstname.lastname@example.org 'FOR HEALTHY RED BEEF' 2008100-111202 2006179-120406 FOR SALE ACC WEST TAMAR 33 Angus heifers Rising 2 yrs. Med-Large frame, good condition & very quiet. PTIC to Entally Forest Angus due July 3rd-Sep 3rd. Can sell in lines to suit. $1150 ACC BREEDER 15 Angus Cows 4-7 yrs. Med-Large frame, sound & very quiet. Due to Red Limo Late Aug on. $1000 1 Red Limo Bull 3 yrs. Good type & quiet. $1500 Only for sale due to sale of property. Photos & video available on all lines. An independent, professional approach to livestock marketing Reg Woodiwiss 0448 961 591 Mark Webb 0458 973 590 ALL PRICES GST EXCL 2010221-120504
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