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Participation in Lifetime Ewe Management results in changes in stocking rate, ewe management and reproductive performance on commercial farms

Trompf, J.P., Gordon, D.J., Behrendt, R., Curnow, M., Kildey, L.C. and Thompson, A.N. (2011) Participation in Lifetime Ewe Management results in changes in stocking rate, ewe management and reproductive performance on commercial farms. Animal Production Science, 51 (9). pp. 866-872.

Link to Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/AN10164
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Abstract

Lifetime Ewe Management is an extension program designed to assist sheep producers to improve their understanding of ewe nutrition and to develop the skills and confidence to improve their management. The course is based on a small-group extension model and was developed by the Lifetimewool project as a way to incorporate the research findings, economic modelling and producer guidelines developed by the project. Lifetime Ewe Management commenced in Victoria in the spring of 2006 and by the end of 2010, 221 producers had completed the 2-year program. The changes in knowledge, attitudes, skills, aspirations and management practices of 182 of these participants were examined. Participants of the Lifetime Ewe Management program increased their whole-farm stocking rates by 14%, increased lamb marking percentages by 1113% depending on enterprise type, and decreased ewe mortality rates by 43%. These improvements resulted from a significant change in the perceived importance of managing ewes to condition-score targets to improve profitability and increases in the ability of participants to condition score ewes, assess pasture quantity and quality and feed budget. These changes were consistent regardless of how innovative the participants were at the beginning of the program. The appeal and success of the program was attributed largely to the small-group model where producers worked with their own flock under the guidance of a skilled facilitator and with access to effective decision-making tools. The Lifetime Ewe Management program design provides a blueprint for future extension programs striving to achieve widespread practice change.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing
Copyright: © CSIRO 2011
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/5460
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