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Sheep CRC training programs delivering practice change on farm

Tuesday 10th of June 2014

A national survey of sheep producers has revealed the tangible impact the Sheep CRC’s training programs has had on farming practices, with more than 80 per cent of attendees changing management strategies after attending Managing Scanned Ewe workshops.

Similar results were also recorded for programs including Life Time Ewe Management, RamSelect, High Performance Weaners, and Bred Well Fed Well workshops.

The survey of 1000 sheep producers nation-wide was conducted on behalf of the Cooperative Research Centre for Sheep Industry Innovation (Sheep CRC), as part of its performance benchmarking and reporting process to the Federal Government and industry participants.

"The awareness and impact of the Sheep CRC’s training programs shows that producers and advisers are hungry for high-quality, independent research that is focussed on improving farm profits and flock performance," Sheep CRC Industry Engagement & Training Coordinator Lu Hogan said.

"Almost 90pc of producers surveyed had heard of at least one of the Sheep CRC training programs, and 40% of producers had attended at least one CRC event, with most attending more than one event.

"Each type of workshop resulted in practice change from at least 51pc of participants, with that figure rising to 68pc for Bred Well Fed Well, 77pc for Life Time Ewe Management, and 82pc for Managing Scanned Ewes."

Operating as part of the Federal Department of Industry’s CRC program, the Sheep CRC is a collaboration of industry, government and the commercial sector. It is working to increase the productivity and profitability of the industry through adoption of new technologies in both the meat and wool supply chains.

Over the course of its current seven-year term, which ends on June 30, the Sheep CRC delivered a series of training programs to improve the skills and knowledge of producers as a means of bolstering on-farm productivity.

"The Managing Scanned Ewes Program program is a great example of the impact that these training courses have had on industry," Ms Hogan said. "Led by Chris Shands, formerly Senior Research Officer at NSW DPI, it was delivered in partnership with pregnancy scanning businesses to help sheep producers improve lambing performance.

"Some 88 scanning workshops were delivered around Australia to 1800 sheep producers and it is estimated that improved use of pregnancy scanning data and increased uptake of testing led to an additional 500,000 lambs born per year, which translates to a 15pc increase in reproduction efficiency."

The Sheep CRC’s suite of training programs was also delivered to industry service providers as a means of enhancing the industry’s capacity to continue to improve farm practices in the future.

Service providers surveyed also provided an average rating of 4.2 out of 5 for the Sheep CRC as a source of credible information and a leader in innovation, providing independent and high-quality information.

And more than 73pc of service providers indicated they had changed their recommendations to farmers as a result of Sheep CRC research, with a further 17pc indicating the research had validated their beliefs and practices.

More information on the Sheep CRC’s training programs is available at www.sheepcrc.org.au.

Media contact: Michael Thomson, 0408 819 666

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