The declining demand for wool and increased demand for sheep meat has prompted producers to shift from solely wool enterprises towards mixed or meat focused initiatives. This has seen the sheep flock within Australia diverge from the original Merino-centric flock to be approximately 32% other breeds, including composite, first and second crosses and shedding breeds.Guidelines for ewe management are primarily Merino based and advise ewes be in a body condition score 3.0 at joining. The incompleteness of the current advice for a wide range of regions, breeds and season of mating is a threat to the adoption of ewe management packages and appears to be reducing farm profits. AusFarm modelling will be applied to re-examine the current industry guidelines in terms of ewe flock management, including region, season and breed. An on-farm component comprising 49,500 ewes will demonstrate to producers the importance of ewe management throughout the reproductive cycle.
Dr Shawn McGrath / Dr Gordon Refshauge / Prof. Bruce Allworth / Dr Susan Robertson