BestWool/BestLamb – Prime lamb production systems
In this month's profile, we look at the Boorhaman BWBL group's three-day tour visiting multiple south west Victorian sheep producers. The group were eager to compare how producers measure success, what their key performance indicators are and what are the factors that drive profit in their businesses. With the focus on lamb finishing systems, pasture and grazing management, including stocking rates and lamb growth rates.
- BestWool/BestLamb – Prime lamb production systems (PDF - 560.5 KB)
- BestWool/BestLamb – Prime lamb production systems (WORD - 1.7 MB)
BestWool/BestLamb – To wean or not to wean prime lambs
In this month’s profile, we revisit the St Arnaud BWBL group to get an update on their MLA producer demonstration site 'To wean or not to wean'. Two years into the demonstration, what is the data collected showing about the production benefits of weaning lambs at 12 weeks of age.
- BestWool/Best Lamb – To wean or not to wean prime lambs (PDF - 469.2 KB)
- BestWool/Best Lamb – To wean or not to wean prime lambs (WORD - 409.5 KB)
BestWool/BestLamb – This hat fits every farmer
In this profile, we focus on the importance of health and mental wellbeing in all farming businesses. Learn more about The National Centre for Farmer Health's new Farmer HAT tool, the involvement of the Apsley, Balmoral and Fiery Creek BWBL groups in the pilot program and how other BWBL groups can participate in this program.
- BestWool/BestLamb – This hat fits every farmer (PDF - 375.9 KB)
- BestWool/BestLamb – This hat fits every farmer (WORD - 495.6 KB)
BWBL Western Plains – Lamb survival management strategies
In this month’s group profile, we revisit the Western Plains BestWool/BestLamb Group to learn about the results of the second year of their three year on-farm demonstration site, which is focused on management strategies for improving lamb survival.
- BWBL Western Plains - Lamb survival management strategies (PDF - 536.8 KB)
- BWBL Western Plains - Lamb survival management strategies (WORD - 1.0 MB)
BWBL Darlington (Elephant and Emu) Group
Benchmarking and recovery
Read Daniel Gilmour's story of his farm surviving the 2018 Saint Patrick's Day bushfire and how the support of volunteers and his BWBL group helped his farm business recover and adapt.
- BWBL Darlington (Elephant and Emu) Group – Benchmarking and recovery (PDF - 662.8 KB)
- BWBL Darlington (Elephant and Emu) Group – Benchmarking and recovery (WORD - 4.4 MB)
South West Prime Lamb Group – A focus on dung beetles
In the final BWBL profile for 2020, the spotlight is on the South West Prime Lamb Group – a long-standing group that has been involved in numerous on-farm trials over the years, yet still have an appetite to learn. This month we delve into their quest to learn more about dung beetles in sheep production systems.
Read the full article:
Campaspe Lamb Producers
This month we hear how members of the Campaspe Lamb Producers group are actively involved in supporting local sheep productivity trials.
They have a long history of productivity trials and share some of their past experiences, as well as outline the current trial ‘The Long and Short of it – Shearing Merinos’, which is investigating the merits of shearing merino wethers annually versus every six months over three years.
Read more about the trials:
- BestWool/BestLamb Campaspe group (PDF - 448.0 KB)
- BestWool/BestLamb Campaspe group (WORD - 816.9 KB)
Measure to manage
This month, we hear from the Creightons Creek BWBL group and the value of on farm trials in their local area. Discover why focusing on the measure to manage approach, is helping their members make informed on farm decisions.
BWBL Maryborough – Lamb survival benchmarking
The ability to benchmark lamb survival is a valuable tool for the Maryborough BestWool/BestLamb group. Each year members provide their scanning, lambing and weaning data to group coordinator, Kieran Ransom, who then collates a report based on different mobs on each farm. This allows each member to not only benchmark against their own performance but also against those in the group.
The report is a comprehensive one, focusing on the scanning percentages for both singles and twins, survival at lamb marking for singles and twins, weaning percentages and the ratio of singles to twins. The report also includes a description of the lambing event; the Feed On Offer (FOO) leading up to, and at lambing, ewe condition score at joining and lambing, and seasonal conditions.
Read the full article:
Soil Health Group – Making informed decisions
A focus for many members of the Soil Health Group has been farm benchmarking. Benchmarking has provided the opportunity for members to gauge how they are performing, not only against top performing farms, but more importantly monitoring their own business’ performance. It can be particularly helpful in developing trigger points for management decisions and supporting other business decisions.
Dave Hansen, a group member, has made several business decisions based on comprehensive analysis of this data. When he began benchmarking, he was a cattle trader, but now trades lambs. Dave said once he saw the economics it was an opportunity too good to miss. Having the data to compare has allowed him to develop trigger points including break-even prices and when to purchase irrigation water. These trigger points are the backbone of making everyday farming decisions.
Read the full article:
- Making informed decisions — developing trigger points (WORD - 1.7 MB)
- Making informed decisions — developing trigger points (PDF - 1.8 MB)
BWBL Boort – Drone trial for monitoring sheep welfare at lambing
Drones are being used more frequently in agriculture, mostly for monitoring crops and pastures. There’s even one used to lift and transfer hay bales.
'What is the value of drones in a farming system?' This question, raised by the Boort BestWool/BestLamb Group, has led the group to trial the use of drones to monitor ewe and lamb welfare during lambing and other activities during summer.
Read more about the trial:
BWBL Smeaton – Group gives confidence
Becoming members of the Smeaton network group is paying dividends for Justin and Katie Lindorff.
Minimal farming experience prior to joining the group, Justin and Katie have learnt, and continue to learn, better ways to run their farm 'Rowsley' near Bacchus Marsh.
- BWBL Smeaton Group — Group gives confidence (PDF - 608.6 KB)
- BWBL Smeaton Group — Group gives confidence (WORD - 1.2 MB)
BWBL St Arnaud – To wean or not to wean
Producers are often misinformed about the benefits of weaning.
The St Arnaud group were keen to explore and weigh up the impact of weaning on dressing percentage and possible setback to lambs, compared to potentially higher liveweights for weaned lambs and the benefits to ewe reproductive efficiency.
- BWBL St Arnaud — To wean or not to wean (PDF - 967.5 KB)
- BWBL St Arnaud — To wean or not to wean (WORD - 1.1 MB)
BWBL Pyrenees and Smeaton – Improving ram performance
Members of the Pyrenees (Avoca) and Smeaton BestWool/BestLamb groups recently participated in a practical on-farm workshop: 'RAMping Up Repro'.
The workshop covered best practice ram management in the months leading up to joining.
- BWBL Pyrenees and Smeaton — Improving ram performance (PDF - 624.0 KB)
- BWBL Pyrenees and Smeaton — Improving ram performance (WORD - 1.3 MB)
BWBL Willaura – New Zealand tour
In June 2019, Steve Cotton arranged a tour for the Willaura BWBL group to look at Merino systems in New Zealand. Thirteen producers took part in the tour.
The 5-day tour started in Christchurch and finished in Queenstown and, on average, 4 properties were visited each day.
A big 'take home message' for the group was the New Zealander's approach to feed. Through winter, different stock feeds are grown such as rye corn, kale and swede.
- BWBL Willaura — New Zealand tour (PDF - 883.9 KB)
- BWBL Willaura — New Zealand tour (WORD - 787.2 KB)
BWBL Bairnsdale profile
In this profile, we meet the BWBL Bairnsdale group which has been running for around 20 years.
The group meets 6 times a year, on farm, to discuss local issues and share information on running profitable and sustainable wool and prime lamb enterprises.