Sheep confinement lots preserve pasture and improve management

Sheep confinement lots preserve pasture and improve management

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Tom, Tim, Brian and Glenn Curry - The use of confinement has allowed the business to maintain, and even increase, our stocking rate without compromising groundcover when it's dry. Photo: Emily Malone, Graham Centre

Tom, Tim, Brian and Glenn Curry - The use of confinement has allowed the business to maintain, and even increase, our stocking rate without compromising groundcover when it's dry. Photo: Emily Malone, Graham Centre

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The Livestock Forum is being held online on an interactive digital platform to allow livestock producers to find out about new research and hear from industry experts.

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A decision in the millennial drought to set up smaller pens to better manage sheep over summer has become an annual practice for the Curry family allowing them to preserve pasture, maintain stocking rates and improve management.

Glenn Curry will share his experience of sheep confinement lots at the Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation's annual Livestock Forum being held online on Friday 31 July.

Curry Farming is a 2800 hectare family mixed farming enterprise based at Junee with crops, improved and native pastures, along with a sheep enterprise of self replacing merino ewes and prime lamb production.

Mr Curry said they first invested in a seven pen confinement lot to accommodate up to 2100 sheep in 2008 and it's been used every year since.

"We have found containment lots, where up to 300 sheep are accommodated in 80 by 50 metre pens and fed in a trough during summer and early autumn, is a valuable management tool in our farm enterprise," Mr Curry said.

"It means we can manage age groups differently and divide the ewes up according to condition, allowing us to better manage the nutrition of the sheep.

"The use of confinement has allowed the business to maintain, our stocking rate without compromising groundcover when it's dry.

"It protects our investment in pastures and means they respond much better after the autumn break, we have been better placed to ride out tough seasons and it means we can potentially buy in when it rains."

Mr Curry said they were in a position during 2019 to buy sheep because the response of their pastures due to being spelled was terrific.

At the Livestock Forum Mr Curry will talk about how confinement lots fit in his farming enterprise before joining a panel discussion with fellow producer Matthew Martin, Geoff Casburn from the NSW Department of Primary Industries and Martin Preuss from Riverina Local Land Services.

Other topics on the program include sheep reproduction, genetic benchmarking in the Merino industry, dual purpose mixes and cover cropping, extracting more value from cull cows and multi-breed genomic evaluation in beef cattle.

The Livestock Forum is being held online on an interactive digital platform to allow livestock producers to find out about new research and hear from industry experts.

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