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A new AWI workshop – Winning With Weaners – is being rolled out across the country to give woolgrowers the skills to lift the lifetime performance of their young Merino sheep.
Weaner ill thrift and mortality are the fourth highest ranked priority disease, in terms of economic cost, to the Australian sheep industry. It has been estimated to cost the industry approximately $188 million annually – most of this estimate is due to production losses. The cost of prevention (providing improved nutrition for weaners) is estimated to be only $36 million.
Weaner ill thrift occurs when young sheep fail to thrive when other classes of stock in the flock are in satisfactory health and body condition. It results in poor growth, reduced wool production and wool quality (especially staple strength), increased susceptibility to disease (especially worms) and can lead to high mortality rates in young sheep up to one year of age.
While there are multiple concurrent causes of weaner ill thrift and mortality, they are all primarily related to animal management and husbandry.
To help woolgrowers improve weaner management of their Merino flock, AWI has developed a new workshop called Winning With Weaners™.
The workshop targets 95% weaner survival to one year of age. It identifies key practical actions and tools for commercial enterprises to implement on-farm to achieve this performance aim.
Winning With Weaners assists participants in understanding the key issues affecting weaner survival and performance and guides them through developing targets for growth and practical pathways for improving performance from this group of sheep.
The workshop was piloted by AWI in late 2017 and early 2018, with a subsequent series of train-the-trainer events held across Australia. Accredited and licensed deliverers are now in place to deliver the workshop and will work with AWI’s State Grower Networks to organise these across the nation.
Winning With Weaners is a single day workshop (9.00 am-2.30 pm) with about 15-25 participants per workshop and costs $75 per person. Attendees receive a full set of workshop notes, useful tools to help with monitoring and planning for successful weaner management and a checklist for use in their own operation.
Upcoming workshops will be held in Crookwell July 18th, Yass July 19th and Boorowa July 20th.
For event information go to www.sheepconnectnsw.com.au/events/
For more stories from Beyond the Bale head to www.wool.com/btb