A NEW DIRECTION FOR THE OLD RAM

The Old Ram-Australia

True BYH Addict
Joined
Jan 18, 2011
Messages
845
Reaction score
1,513
Points
273
Thank you Bay,the animal libs having forced a lot of regs on us are now trying to get "pain relief" or a vet to do desexing of males and tail docking.Lucky both of these things will not be an issue for us going forward as we will in a couple of generations breed the tails out of the flock and after a chat with a fellow from Parkistan there is no requirement for desexing of males in their culture unless specifically requested.

You also sound as if you have identified a "niche" locally and are working toward it,good on you.

Animal rights groups are gaining strength from "city folks" who have "no idea" how food is produced but deplore the things that are depicted by the few "bad apples' in the industry.The animal libbers have infltrated groups like the RSPCA and now have an ear with govt to attempt to gain their ultimate objective of no domestic animal production...T.O.R.
 

Baymule

Herd Master
Joined
Aug 22, 2010
Messages
24,777
Reaction score
64,721
Points
833
Location
Northeast Texas
The animal libbers won't stop, they want an end to pets also. In their utopia, all animals are wild and live in their so called natural state. What morons. They do not care that this would end centuries of selective breeding of every type of farm animal for their particular environment and use. These idiots have an agenda and it is to end all animal sales of all types. Just because they are vegans, they want to impose their beliefs on everyone else. Maybe we should all grow beans.
 

The Old Ram-Australia

True BYH Addict
Joined
Jan 18, 2011
Messages
845
Reaction score
1,513
Points
273
G'day folks, I am posting a paper I wrote for Australian Painted Sheep (FB). Although it relates to not only our farm by the Sheep meat industry down here going forward.Its an example of how I think about not only our farm but possible outcomes for our industry and how we endevour to protect ourselves against any "bumps in the road".

As a sheep producer be you large or small you have to try to protect yourselves from possible concquences from outside your control.Imagine if you were a supplier to Mountain States Rosen in Colorado when they failed and the new buyer JBS decided to forego Lamb processing in the future.How would you respond?

Anyway ,I hope you enjoy the read,it's a bit long,but I hope you find it a worthwhile...

CONSIDERING POSSIBLE CHALLANGES IN THE YEAR AHEAD.
There is an old truism, "if you fail to plan , you plan to fail”.
Just as we budget our grazing, we also need to consider possible challenges that could arise in the period between joining and marketing.
Currently there are some serious factors that could impact the sheep business in the year ahead.
Covid 19, is not going to disappear and in spite of the utterances of the govt it is going to impact us for at least a year (IMO). International travel is “years away”. This will impact the Foodservice demand for lamb.
The demise of the “live sheep trade” is not going to be replaced by carcass sales. Southern Europe is gearing up to supply that market now that they do not have Australia as competition. So, producers in Western Australia could be forced to put vast quantities of lamb onto the local market which will increase pressure on producer returns in the Eastern states
Britain is going have to support its local producers, due to the loss of EU markets.
The EU members will I believe, move to protect its own farmers and restrict imports to protect what they consider as “unfair competition “from other country's including Australia and New Zealand.
Chinas issues with Australia could result in trade barriers if she can replace Lamb from us with red meat from South America.
The increasingly aggressive stance by North Korea could impact sales to South Korea, Vietnan and Japan.
At this point of time the only stable market appears to be the USA, but changes to farming by the new administration could impact even this market.
So, what are the options for us producers? Well MLA are advising us to all invest and increase production as if we have nothing to worry about, but exporters/processers are “pushing back” against govt charges as being excessive and the industry cannot afford. Because we are in the main an exporting country when it comes to sheep meat these protests are something we need to heed as if exporters face a more difficult time, it will be producers who suffer the cost.
Of course, we as producers can adopt a conservative approach and hold our production at the farms present level and change our management to reduce our current Cost Of Production. The biggest change is in our thinking in just how we go about the task. On our farm we estimate just how much feed we need for the coming 12 months. I have posted this formula before but I will do it again.
Let's assume for the sake of the exercise, we keep it simple:
100 breeders ,100acs and 10 paddocks (you can use the formula, just insert your numbers) 100 B x 365days=36,500 sheep grazing days, divided by 10 paddocks = 3650 sheep grazing days per paddock, per year. Using a 15 day cycle each paddock will be grazed 2 and a half times (assuming flock is 1 group) in the 12 months. (10 paddocks x15 days =150 days) …...This will cause some stress on the farm in the first 12 months as both you, the farm and the livestock adjust to this quite dramatic change in grazing. It may be that you will require to do some “hand-feeding” but if you adopt some other changes this cost can be negated.
Our farm is 300acs,30% is woodland, so we have a maximum carrying capacity of 300 breeders. It’s over 12 since we started and in spite of two droughts, bush fires (during which we were subjected to four continues months of smoke and ash). When the drought broke with flooding rains, we lost quite a number of our breeder ewes to lung failure as a result of the non-stop of breathing in smoke and ash. We are currently in a re-building phase and once we reach terminal size with by the way a completely “adapted” flock to our landscape and environment.
At terminal flock size we will re-access the carrying capacity of the farm and each year subtract 20% of the stock we judge as being the least productive based on the flock average and add the top 20% of the last generation. This strategy will result in a complete turnover of the whole flock in just 5 years.
We have now started down this path and from here on we will not drench, not vax, not backline not de-sex males, not tail dock, not use any synthetic fertilizers, not till the soil and only “spot spray” Serrated Tussock (as required by law).
We have already got identified a niche market for our sheep which returns a premium v/s selling through the saleyards. The savings on variable costs and more importantly “labour inputs” is quite substantial as you can imagine if you compare with your own costs.
In the first instance the savings should be re-directed into “fencing” because “Wire grows grass”. The new shedding breeds have a “terrible reputation “when it comes to fencing, in fact we had to re-design our wire layout to contain them, but once they understand that it is easier to stay in the paddock “we “choose for them, life becomes so much more pleasant.
If the above has “struck a chord” with you. spend a little time thinking about what we have done and our success so far in both stock health and savings in our COP. OH, one other thing the use of a complete mineral mix is “not optional”.
I do hope some of you respond by posting your views and opinuins..Frank.
 

Baymule

Herd Master
Joined
Aug 22, 2010
Messages
24,777
Reaction score
64,721
Points
833
Location
Northeast Texas
Well said. I don't have near enough pasture, but I manage what I have. I always learn from your posts, thank you for sharing your years of experience and wisdom.
 

The Old Ram-Australia

True BYH Addict
Joined
Jan 18, 2011
Messages
845
Reaction score
1,513
Points
273
Hi Bay,here is the difference between you and many I speak to ,you acknowledge and accept your farms shortcomings and factor these extra costs into your operation. Many do not...T.O.R.
 

Baymule

Herd Master
Joined
Aug 22, 2010
Messages
24,777
Reaction score
64,721
Points
833
Location
Northeast Texas
I have worked at trying to make the beach sand we have here, more friendly to grass. It has been difficult. Grass seed will come up, then the hot months get here, the sand heats up and the grass shrivels and dies. We have fed the horses their hay round bale on the pipeline for the past 2 years, for the dropped waste hay and their manure to provide humus to improve the soil. We also have gotten loads of wood chips from powerline cleaning crews. They decompose and we add them to the mix. I have my grass seed ready and am ready to disc and drag the soil to prepare for sowing the seed. We have to finish getting a huge old oak tree cut up and hauled away. Lightening struck it last summer, a friend is taking it away, wish we had a fireplace! LOL

Yes, I recognize my little farm's shortcomings. I'll never be able to run 100 ewes on it, but I can have a small flock and that gives me great happiness. We are taking 6 ewes to auction tomorrow, 2 have lambs on them. This cuts my flock in half. Keeping 6 ewe lambs that are leaping bounds, better than what we are taking to auction. I'll be looking for a few good registered ewes so I can have registered breeding stock to sell as well as my commercial sheep.

I have 3 ram lambs from this year's lambing that are outstanding. They tower over the rest of the lambs, long loin, great conformation and a calm disposition. I'm thinking I'll grow them out for a few more months and offer them for sale as commercial flock sires. One is white, one is black and white and one is tri colored, black, white, and brown. Eye candy doesn't hurt LOL.

In my limited pasture, I now have lush rye grass and clovers. I've been keeping the sheep mostly off, letting the grass grow, waiting until we took the 6 culls off to auction. I'll use this growth to flush the ewes and get them back in good condition for breeding.

Thanks for letting me ramble on!
 

The Old Ram-Australia

True BYH Addict
Joined
Jan 18, 2011
Messages
845
Reaction score
1,513
Points
273
Hi Bay, how did the sheep go at the auction?I would never treat your posts as "rambling's".we all learn from the experiences of others.Anyone who thinks there is nothing more to learn is a "fool" in my eyes...T.O.R.
 

The Old Ram-Australia

True BYH Addict
Joined
Jan 18, 2011
Messages
845
Reaction score
1,513
Points
273
G'day folks, now I know how your all love photos?So here a a couple of the latest.

First lambs this year.

The first is a "craftly old ewe" who is looking pretty close,we saw her yesterday when we checked theflock ,but today she was nowhere to be seen.She has most likely lambed and is hiding in the bush.

the second photo is a ewe that lambed today,nice strong lambs ,great udder and the lambs drinking at will...T.O.R.
 

Attachments

  • DSCN5726.JPG
    DSCN5726.JPG
    380.2 KB · Views: 37
  • DSCN5732.JPG
    DSCN5732.JPG
    238.1 KB · Views: 37

Baymule

Herd Master
Joined
Aug 22, 2010
Messages
24,777
Reaction score
64,721
Points
833
Location
Northeast Texas
We got as good or better prices than anybody else. The lambs sold separately and brought more money than they would have selling as a trio or pair. We were happy with the sale. We hope to buy 3-4 registered ewes with the proceeds.

We have learned that the best time to take lambs to auction is January-February. That’s our winter and people breed for spring lambs. So the demand outstrips the supply and prices are higher. @Mike CHS brought this to our attention recently so we went to auction to observe. We talked to buyers and the general consensus was to have lambs ready to go January 1.
We weaned lambs yesterday, separated ram and ewe lambs. I’ll dry off the ewes, then flush them for breeding. I may miss the mark by a little next year, but after that, we’ll be on track.
 

The Old Ram-Australia

True BYH Addict
Joined
Jan 18, 2011
Messages
845
Reaction score
1,513
Points
273
G'day got another photo of the twins 24 hours later. In an interesting conversation about the benifiets of drenching for worms I was described as"a mad scientest" for the way we manage our flock...I consider this praise from someone who has "no idea" of how we operate ...T.O.R.
 

Attachments

  • DSCN5733.JPG
    DSCN5733.JPG
    356.9 KB · Views: 32
Top