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Potential economic benefits from improving ewe nutrition to optimise lifetime wool production and quality in South-west Victoria

Thompson, A.N. and Young, J.M. (2002) Potential economic benefits from improving ewe nutrition to optimise lifetime wool production and quality in South-west Victoria. Wool Technology and Sheep Breeding, 50 (3). pp. 503-509.

Link to Published Version: http://sheepjournal.net/index.php/WTSB/article/vie...
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Abstract

The amount and quality of wool produced by progeny during their lifetime are influenced by ewe nutrition during pregnancy and lactation. Experimental evidence strongly suggests that better-fed ewes will produce progeny that will produce more wool and finer wool throughout their lives. The potential costs and benefits of managing ewe nutrition through pregnancy in south-west Victoria were modelled using a version of the computer program MIDAS. Based on the assumptions used, improving ewe nutrition during pregnancy by reducing stocking rates and/or increasing the amounts of supplement fed increased farm profitability by up to $28.70 and $38.95/ha/yr for "Early" and "Late" lambing flocks, respectively. These equate to $5.80 and $6.65/ewe/yr respectively. More than 80% of the increase in profit from feeding ewes more during pregnancy was achieved from the progeny producing more wool and especially finer wool rather than from increases in weaning percentage (13%) or extra and broader wool from the ewes (3%). The analysis indicated that the effects on farm profitability of improving ewe nutrition during pregnancy in this environment are potentially very large, and the formulation of cost-effective feeding strategies for breeding ewes needs to consider the effects on the production and quality of wool produced during the life of their progeny. The analysis highlighted the sensitivity of profit to the size of the progeny wool-production response to ewe nutrition during pregnancy and the importance of relatively small changes in progeny fibre diameter on farm profitability.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Wool Research Organisation of New Zealand Inc.
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/25176
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