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WA sheep producers proactive with tough season
Sep '10
Despite facing a bleak spring production season, sheep producers across Western Australia are better prepared for the months ahead after a series of workshops run by The Sheep's Back.

Three quarters of farmers who attended the Poor Season Strategy Workshops left the day feeling confident they could deal with the situation and 94 per cent said the meeting assisted in their planning.

Bill and Anne Cleland, Beverley WA said it gave farmers an opportunity to share their experiences.

“In a season such as this, there are plenty of strategies and options, it is just a matter of analysing these and acting appropriately. One of the key messages from the meeting was the necessity to manage our ewes for next year's mating, and the provision of some strategies to do this. The Sheep's Back provided historical and forecast feed on offer information at a district level, and if there was any doubt that stocking rates needed reviewing, this quickly abated,” Anne said.

With a false break and poor winter rain, the spring production season is tight and getting lambs to sale weights and ewes into good joining condition for next year needs to be thought through and planned for now according to The Sheep's Back co-ordinator Ed Riggall.

“In many ways we are in uncharted waters as poor seasons are generally defined by a late start rather than a poor winter/spring so we have to plan now to manage how we want our farms looking in March next year,” he added.

Meetings were held at Tambellup, Woodanilling, Brookton and Corrigin where 80 farmers attended. Of these, 80 per cent left the meeting understanding the current and future feed on offer (FOO) across their property. Over 60 per cent of the attendees were under the age of 50 and the average flock size of those attending was just over 6000.

Having also spoken with producers at the Dowerin, Newdigate and Miningnew Field Days, Mr Riggall said there was plenty of help on hand for those still looking for assistance to plan ahead to reduce current and future stress on their business and family.

“We are getting in early here by planning now. With sheep at such high prices there are many different options, selling sheep is only one of them,” he added.

The Sheep's Back network is supported by Australian Wool Innovation; members receive quarterly newsletters and access to a network of producers and experts.

Australian Wool Innovation

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