Breeders brush up on skills

16 Apr, 2015 09:30 AM
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AN information day for sheep enthusiasts drew participants from as far as Kangaroo Island to Mount Pleasant last week.

Held by the SA Stud Sheep Breeders Association the forum covered topics including sheep nutrition and feed management, wool appraisal and fleece characteristics, sheep appraisal and breed standards, and highlighted carcase attributes in a butchery demonstration.

Hills Farm Supplies' Anthony Pearce kicked off the day with a feed and nutrition talk, which focused on pre-lambing management to achieve strong weaning percentages.

"There's an opportunity now to make sure we get as many live lambs on the ground as possible so we can get our weaning percentages up," he said.

"The key to that is saying okay, what can I do at this point?

"I'd be looking at that pre-lambing management."

Mr Pearce said he would consider feeding supplements such as barley and mineral licks, which had the capacity to increase the runniness of the colostrum as well as improve glucose content and immunoglobulins, the antibodies in milk.

"Those things are going to be really useful in terms of making sure the lamb gets its first good feed within the first 24 hours and most importantly, in that first six hours.

"So we've got that lamb right in terms of health, and it's getting some energy into it - we want to get some additional energy into it straight away with the milk."

Other considerations needed to be made for ewes carrying twins.

Mr Pearce said ensuring ewes milked as well as possible and produced as much colostrum as possible was essential to give those second lambs the opportunity to get sufficient milk, colostrum and antibodies.

Landmark Wool's Trevor James delivered a hands-on presentation on how to judge wool and the different characteristics to look for.

"A lot of people have asked, 'how do we judge wool, what do we look for, and what about the different breeds?'" he said

"The same principle applies to most breeds."

The crossbred wool market had lifted quite substantially in the past six months, with finer wool experiencing a rough patch and mid-breaks in wool also affecting the market.

International sheep judge Philipa Pattullo ran through sheep-appraisal methods, including points to consider when judging breeds including Romney, Suffolk, Border Leicester and Hampshire Down.

A butchery demonstration from Hahndorf butcher Noske Meats' Tim Noske was well received by participants.

Mr Noske boned-out half a Suffolk carcase pointing out various carcase points and attributes.

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    Carla Wiese-Smith

    Carla Wiese-Smith

    is a journalist for Fairfax Media

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