SIBI support revitalises Lifetime Ewe Management in WA
The Lifetime Ewe Management (LTEM) training course provides sheep and wool producers with the knowledge and skills to better manage their sheep flock to improve productivity and profitability.
In the course, participants learn to accurately condition score their ewes to ensure they are in good condition to optimise productivity through increased conception and lambing rates and reduced ewe mortality. They also learn how to assess pastures to determine feed on offer, allowing for regular feed budgets to be completed.
On average, past LTEM participants improved the number of lambs weaned per hectare by 30%. This was achieved through a 15% increase in ewe stocking rate, a 50% reduction ewe mortality and a 15% increase in weaning rates.
The course, run nationally by Rural Industries Skills Training (RIST) and funded by the Australian Wool Innovation (AWI), has had over 4000 participants Australia wide. WA however has had a rather underwhelming participation rate, with only 363 producers completing the course prior to 2016.
SIBI’s Lifetime Ewe Coordinator Brydie Creagh was brought on to drive participation at a local level.
“In collaboration with AWI, RIST and the WA Sheep Alliance, SIBI funded a subsidy program to encourage greater participation rates in WA and established this role for a dedicated WA coordinator for the program, both to drive adoption and act as a single point of contact for all WA LTEM stakeholders” said Brydie.
“The success of these initiatives is already obvious, with 2017 recording a significant increase in the number of groups established throughout the state, and with new demographics being reached. Group establishment increased from just five groups in 2016 to 29 in 2017, with a total of 196 participants.
“I can also report a large increase in groups in areas with previously low participation rates, including around Esperance-Ravensthorpe, and north of Perth in the Northampton-Binnu area.”
With participation numbers improving over the past year, there is hope that higher sheep and wool prices will continue to drive interest in the course, and allow for the target of 300 WA participants to be enrolled by the end of 2018.