ASHEEP Shearing Interval Demonstration 6 v 12 months
ASHEEP's latest project is under way - a shearing interval demonstration looking at the benefits and differences between 6 month shearing and 12 month shearing in merino ewes. The project is being overseen by ASHEEP Project Officer, Courteney Pengilly, and is being hosted at Laurina Farms by Ashley Reichstein and Megan McDowall. The 3-year demonstration will follow 800 ewes across two age groups. The ewes have been tagged (thanks to a donation from Allflex) and the project is off to a good start, as per the following overview from Courteney.
Article by Courteney Pengilly, ASHEEP
Key data collected during the Shearing Interval Demonstration will include individual animals weights, condition scores, wool samples and pregnancy scanning results. This information will be used to evaluate the potential impact of shearing intervals between the groups, while getting a measure on the general wellbeing of the animals throughout the 3 year trial. All the animals are to be treated the same throughout the trial. There is no special feeding regime for these animals, they are run as normal on Laurina Farms.
Below is the predicted table of collection points for the trial.
This project has been assessed and approved by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development's Animal Ethics Committee (AEC) and we now have our official certificate to conduct the project. ASHEEP was given special permission to start the data collection process late last year (as the deciding meeting would be held after the project start date). Many thanks to ASHEEP EO Sarah for putting the time into this while I was on a chaser bin for harvest. This has been a great exercise going through the AEC application process, giving ASHEEP a better perspective of what the process involves for future projects.
Data collection started on the 23rd of December 2021, being for the data collection on each animal as a base for the project. This is later than where we would like to have commenced but with a shearer shortage and a wet start things got pushed back. You all know how things go, add on top a busy harvest meant things had to be flexible.
Watch this space for more details as the project progresses. As you can see from the timetable, wehave the first shearing in our sights. Keep your eye on the socials to stay up to date with projects between newsletters.
Special thanks for getting the Shearing Interval Demonstration running go to:
Laurina Farms, Ashley Reichstein and Megan McDowall - project host
Chatley and Hutcheson - providing the weigh crate
Jake Hann, Nutrien Ag Solutions - bringing the weighing gear out and condition scoring.
Sinead O'Gara, South Coastal Agencies & the team at Allflex for arranging the donation of eartags for all sheep in the project.