Ram selection occurs on just one day of the year but it can impact the genetic make-up and profitability of a sheep flock for years to come.
An upcoming RamSelect workshop, to be held at ‘Wunnamurra’, Jerilderie, on Thursday August 14, will develop the skills of commercial producers to accurately and confidently select rams to meet their breeding objective and maximise their sheep enterprise return.
The workshop is to be hosted by Wunamurra Poll Dorset Stud owners Ian and Judy Gillett, who run a mixed sheep and cropping operation south of Jerilderie, on Berrigan road.
They run 350 Poll Dorset Stud ewes and 1000 commercial Merinos, plus 1000 hectares of irrigated cropping country.
Mr Gillett said the one-day RamSelect workshop would include presentations from breeding specialists, including principal consultant at Sheep Solutions in Leeton (NSW) Geoff Duddy, and owner of Pendarra White Suffolk Stud in Ardlethan (NSW), Murray Long.
"Selecting and buying rams are among the most important commercial decisions a sheep breeder makes each year," Mr Duddy said.
"This hands-on workshop has been designed to give commercial ram buyers more confidence in combining Australian Sheep Breeding Values (ASBVs) with visual assessment to select rams that meet their breeding objective and offer value for money."
Despite being a highly beneficial tool for sheep breeders, Mr Gillett stressed the importance of using ABSVs hand-in-hand with visual assessment.
"No good buying a ram on figures sight unseen," he said.
"ASBVs are a tool that should be used in conjunction with visual assessment."
Poll Dorset rams will be on-hand during the workshop for practical demonstrations; however the information and selection process showcased is suited to producers selecting rams for all enterprise types.
Mr Gillett, who has been involved with LAMBPLAN for the past 25 years, said the one-day practical workshop should fill some education gaps for southern Riverina sheep producers.
"For a lot of producers around here, there isn’t a great deal of knowledge about LAMBPLAN or MERINOSELECT, so it’s great to have this day set up - focussing on LAMBPLAN breeding values," he said.
The workshops, which have been rolled out at locations across the state, are hosted by breeders and livestock service providers able to provide ongoing assistance to producers as they make these important decisions each year.
The course materials have been developed by the Cooperative Research Centre for Sheep Industry Innovation (Sheep CRC) and the NSW Department of Primary Industries with input from Sheep Genetics.
The Sheep CRC support for the delivery of these workshops aims to assist the professional development of genetics advisors and their clients across the sheep industry.
To register to attend contact Ian and Judy Gillett, firstname.lastname@example.org, or 03 5885 6531 or 0427 135 069.
RSVP August 7 (no cost to first 25 registrants).
More information is available online at www.sheepcrc.org.au
Media contact: Michael Thomson on 07 4927 0805/ 0408 819 666