Welcome to the latest Ag Chat newsletter, offering advice, seasonal updates and information for landholders on what is happening at Western LLS across all areas of agriculture. First, let's meet the team:
Gemma Turnbull — Team Leader based in Bourke
Tanisha Shields — Senior Land Services Officer based in Balranald
Claudia Bryant — Land Services Officer based in Broken Hill
Luke Stacey — Senior Land Services Officer based in Buronga.
Max Brownlow — Senior Field Officer based in Broken Hill
See the contact details for the team at the end of this newsletter.
Online resources available for landholders and stakeholders
With COVID-19 restrictions impacting everyone in NSW and interstate in some form at the moment, many of us have more time at home or on property.
During this time, LLS has a number of great online resources to assist producers increase their knowledge and understanding on a range of topics, both for the Western region and across the state.
Producer Demonstration Site Project update, webinar opportunity
The Producer Demonstration Site (PDS) Project is continuing to progress with seven landholders from the Booligal area of south-western NSW welcomed to the project.
The seven producers, who manage a total of 307,452 hectares and 87,500 sheep, have been selected to demonstrate the benefits of increasing weaner nutrition and weight gain during puberty on their subsequent lifetime net reproductive rate (NRR) as ewes.
A total of 3,440 ewe weaners have been assessed on six core properties, with 1,528 identified as 'lights' with liveweights between 21.5 kg to 51.5 kg, 659 identified as 'heavies' with liveweights between 45 kg and 85 kg, and the remaining ewe weaners classed as 'middles' who won't be assessed again during the project.
Based on previous research, it is expected that the lighter groups of ewe weaners will have lower lifetime reproductive performance, when compared to the heavier groups.
There is still an opportunity to be part of this project as an observer producer, to find out more contact Tanisha.
PDS Project webinar update
To find out more about the PDS Project, join us for a webinar with Rob Inglis, Livestock Production Manager with Elders, who is facilitating the project.
The PDS Project is supported by Meat & Livestock Australia.
Join a local grazing group and grow your capacity
We are in the final stages of recruiting for the Improving Tactical Decision Making course in the Ivanhoe and Hillston areas. This program consists of five sessions conducted over 12 months where participants will develop their ability to monitor, measure and record pasture, resource condition and livestock condition.
Key practices which are being implemented through the program include:
routine feed testing and identifying the quality of key pasture species at different times of the year
grazing to target key species at specific times in the production cycle
testing methods to identify pasture quantity in rangeland pastures
identifying and targeting rest and recovery of pastures based on species biology
understanding how grazing influences plants at different stages of growth
linking remote sensing technology with ground measurements to inform decision making
using condition scoring to set livestock targets.
This course will enhance how well your pastures are 'conditioned' to respond to rainfall or withstand a dry time and how effectively you manage your livestock to meet reproduction targets.
As the technology industry continually advances, so too should the efficiency and precision of the agricultural sector. Agricultural technology (Ag Tech) serves to integrate agricultural production from the paddock to the plate, whilst providing stakeholders with resources to make informed decisions and to maximise productivity. Over the coming months, we will investigate different types of Ag Tech that could really improve the functionality of agricultural enterprises in the Western Division.
Electronic Identification (EID) is the use of a microchip, or electronic transponder, embedded in a tag or implant to identify different livestock, with the most common example being the National Livestock Identification System (NLIS) tags.
EID is based on low frequency radio waves or Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) being sent from the chip to a reader, resulting in the identification and transferring of the unique number to a computer system. There are a number of potential flock and cost management benefits of EID for producers to use on the farm, including:
improved accuracy (transcription errors can be eliminated, saving both time and labour)
individual animal management (the variation within the flock can be captured and measured against the flock, allowing the producer to apply decisions specific to the that individual)
benefits to meat and wool flocks (fleece weighing, pregnancy status each year, ram allocation, taking specific bloodlines etc.)
reproduction (pregnancy scanning data)
parasite control (using selective drenching)
EID is a crucial part of the decision-making process. It aims to aid decision making by providing precise insights into particular traits that an animal has demonstrated. The qualities can be numerous and range from things such as fertility measurements right through to growth rates and fleece weights.
Australian Sheep Breeding Values
An animal’s breeding value refers to the value of an animal in a breeding program for a particular trait. Breeding value is the animal’s generic merit and will be twice the expected performance of its progeny.
Australian Sheep Breeding Values (ASBV) are predictions of an animal’s generic merit for a particular trait and are generated from pedigree and performance data of a sire’s progeny and family.
Using ASBV can lead to increased profit margins and production in pastoral systems. There are ASBV for many different traits that impact the performance and profitability of sheep enterprises. These include:
carcase and eating quality traits
Raw measurements on animals are adjusted for differences in environment (DOB, age, sex, rearing type etc.) On property with a sheep meat focus, the carcase traits of growth fat and eye muscle are important, whilst a wool-based system should focus more on wool cut, fineness and staple strength.
Across flock ASBV are only reported when there is enough genetic linkage to other flocks. The linkage allows the performance of sheep within any given flock to be compared with sheep in other linked flocks.
Only the terminal sire breeds have sufficient linkage to allow the ASBV of different breeds to be compared. For self-replacing sheep systems, whether wool-based, dual purpose or sheep meat focused, there are a great potential to improve your bottom line through using ASBV.
For more information on EID or ASBV, contact a member of the Ag team.
Miss the MeatUp forums? Access the recordings today
The Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) MeatUp forums deliver the latest on red meat Research, Development and Adoption (RD&A) and are held throughout southern Australia.
So far in 2021, forums have been held in Cobar (March) and Broken Hill (June), while Dubbo is scheduled to host a forum in October.
The forums are designed by red meat producers for fellow beef, sheep and goat producers through the input of regional producer working groups. This means the program is purposely designed to be relevant to the needs and interests of red meat producers in the local region that is hosting the forum.
The recordings and presentations from previous forums held this year are now available.
MeatUp forums are an MLA initiative and delivered by Pinion Advisory. Pictured at the MeatUp forum in Broken Hill are Max, Claudia and Tanisha.
Calling all woolgrowers at Booligal
The Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) is inviting woolgrowers to join regionally-based AWI representative, Emily King for an engaging discussion about current research, development, extension and marketing across the wool industry, to be followed by dinner. Topics include:
market intelligence (including production and price data)
trends seen during COVID-19
global opportunities for wool
snapshot of on-farm and off-farm project investments
research and development update
question and answer session.
The event will be held, COVID-19 restrictions allowing, on Thursday, 2 September from 5 pm at the Booligal Hotel, 8 Lachlan St. For catering requirements, bookings are essential.Click here to register for the event.
Have you encountered the redlegged earth mite?
Cesar Australia is conducting a national survey on the redlegged earth mite and they want to hear from any landholders that have had dealings with it. The responses will help to increase understanding of current control strategies and to improve how the redlegged earth mite is managed across Australia.
Reminder: RCS Grazing Clinic in Bourke, 14-16 Sept
This workshop covers the principles and practices of grazing management, including how to design and manage a grazing cell and how to use grazing charts as a planning and decision making tool. Click here to register and get further information. Please note, there is a significant discount for those involved in the Living Skin project.
New dates: Business EDGE coming to Broken Hill, 26-27 October
Thanks for reading this newsletter. We encourage you to save the contact details for Gemma, Tanisha, Claudia, Luke and Max and feel comfortable to contact them if you have any questions about your enterprise from an agricultural perspective.
The Ag team is always working to bring projects, events and information that is current and relevant to all landholders in the Western region. This can be in the form of face to face events, online webinars, fact sheets, case studies, newsletter articles and social media updates. If there are any topics you want covered or questions answered in the next edition of Ag Chat, simply hit reply or contact one of the team.