Sheep producers looking to boost lambing rates can access training as part of a project to grow the sheep flock in Western Australia.
Training under the Lifetime Ewe Management (LTEM) program equips participants with best practice management principles for ewe management to increase on-farm productivity and profitability.
The training has been on offer previously but is undergoing a renewed push as part of the Sheep Industry Business Innovation project, made possible by Royalties for Regions funding and delivered by the Department of Agriculture and Food.
Department director of sheep industry development Bruce Mullan said increasing the sheep flock was a key part of the overall project aim to grow the sheep industry and cultivate new export markets.
WA’s total sheep flock currently stands at about 15 million head with the breeding (ewe) flock at approximately eight million head.
“With the increased demand from both domestic and overseas markets for sheep and sheepmeat, LTEM can rapidly increase the numbers of animals available,” Dr Mullan said.
Project development officer Jonathan England said a recent national evaluation found the net annual gain of the productivity improvements as a result of LTEM participation was valued at $18,500 per farm (with 1500 ewes) after improvements in productivity and management costs were taken into account.
“More than 400 producers have completed training to date in WA and we are aiming to ramp that up,” Mr England said.
“Our goal is to have around four million ewes, or 50 per cent of the State’s ewe flock, managed by producers who have completed this training program by 2018/19.”
More than half the cost of training is subsidised by Australian Wool Innovation and Royalties for Regions funding.
“The department and Rural Industries Skill Training are further adapting the package to best meet the latest needs of WA businesses, including enterprises where sheep are an important but not the main income source, and as a result may not be the main focus,” Mr England said.
“The program has been extended to two years involving six sessions, from its current single year format, reducing the yearly time commitment in a busy mixed farming schedule. It also allows a superior learning outcome with two years access to an experienced facilitator over the course of two seasons.”
For more information about the training, contact Mr England on 9881 0222, or to register a group of five producers contact RIST on (03) 5573 0943 or [email protected]
Jodie Thomson/Dionne Tindale, media liaison: (08) 9368 3937
Jonathan England, development officer: (08) 9881 0222