Leading Sheep focuses on getting 'bang for your buck'

Longreach Leading Sheep forum focuses on genetics and efficiency


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The forum focused on how western Queensland producers could get the best "bang for their buck".

The forum focused on how western Queensland producers could get the best "bang for their buck".

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Focusing on genetics and efficiency were stressed at the Leading Sheep forum.

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A stronger emphasis on genetics and taking steps to boost on-farm labour efficiency were two of the key messages from the recent Leading Sheep forum in Longreach.

Agricultural consultant and long time sheep and wool industry expert Geoff Duddy was one of the speakers at Friday's event, addressing a packed auditorium of about 70 at the Qantas Founders Museum.

Kristy Sparrow from Better Internet for Rural, Regional and Remote Australia also spoke to the conference about effective issues advocacy.

Mr Duddy's presentation was geared around getting the "biggest bang for your buck", with a particular focus on meat production in tough conditions.

He stressed the need to embrace the Australian Sheep Breeding Value system but to think carefully about the sort of traits selected for in a flock.

"Queensland unfortunately is way behind on being able to go to a stud and select on an Australian Sheep Breeding Value," he said.

Geoff Duddy addresses the Leading Sheep Forum in Longreach on Friday.

Geoff Duddy addresses the Leading Sheep Forum in Longreach on Friday.

"They work. I understand why studs don't do it, because there is a lot of work and data collection involved.

"But if you use that information, particularly on the breeding ewe side, it will give you heaps of use."

Producers needed to be aware of any trade-offs when selecting for a particular trait, such as wool cut, Mr Duddy said.

"If we select too much for fleece weight, body weight and growth go up, but reproduction goes down.

"Remember that, if we put too much emphasis on wool cut, it takes away other traits from the ewe."

Mr Duddy also spoke about the need to use resources wisely during drought, and to consider efficiencies such as speed of lamb turnoff.

"So few people are breeding, and there is so much interest in finishing lambs, that most time if the season is against you, you are better off selling lambs as store lambs and getting them off the place," he said.

"That helps with feed on-farm."

Breeding to maximise growth rate was another example of a good strategy for tough times, Mr Duddy said.

"If we select for growth rate, we can go to market earlier and get lambs off the farm.

"If you select for growth rate, feed efficiency also increases. That's a double plus."

Leading Sheep is a network of Queensland sheep and wool producers with a focus on boosting productivity through innovation.

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