As the record-breaking drought continues, there has been a resurgence in interest surrounding feed lotting and confinement feeding in the dry.
With ever increasing number of ewes in feedlot or confinement feeding situations, especially pre-joining and during joining, there is a focus on managerial decisions to ensure nutrition during these times are spot on.
Principal designer and founder of Atlex Stockyards, Ian Crafter read an article earlier in the year which remains relevant and possibly even more so, as the dry has continued and the need to feed has become more prevalent.
"Dr Gordon Refshauge, NSW Department of Primary Industries livestock researcher, in an article published on FarmOnline titled 'Drought proofing breeding ewes', explained that some producers having realised that once they get the pre-joining condition score right, it has a flow on effect through to scanning," Mr Crafter said.
"Some have developed a three-phase body condition scoring program.
"This involves ewes being condition scored five weeks before joining, at joining and again at scanning.
"This allows producers to draft ewes on condition score and feed them tailored rations which will flow onto better scanning results.
"By pregnancy testing sheep, farmers are able to take advantage of the strong mutton market by selling dry ewes.
"This leaves funds for single and twin bearing ewes.
"For some people the thought of having to bring ewes through the yards three times seems like a daunting process and an arduous task.
"But with the right yard design it doesn't have to be.
"You can alleviate undue stress on livestock and ultimately make stockwork quicker, easier and more enjoyable.
"By choosing yards that incorporate animal psychology, you avoid poor infrastructure compromising your ewes' productivity.
"This was validated by Michael Wright, Boyup Brook, WA, who can draft between 1500 and 2000 sheep in an hour in his Atlex sheepyards.
"Mr Wright also confirmed he can scan 700 ewes per hour.
"Having the ability to incorporate sheep handling and preg testing equipment in your yard design is also important.
"We use cutting edge technology to survey, enabling us to customise the design to incorporate any sheep handling equipment into a yard design - whether that be permanently or temporarily - while having no adverse effect on the natural flow of the animals.
"Robert Jensen, Pingaring, WA, said the design of his sheepyards means greater efficiency to allow greater throughput, and the job to happen faster."
- Visit: www.atlex.com.au