Building confidence in ram buying decisions

 Rod Frohling, of Southern Riverina Sheep Breeders group, will host a RamSelect workshop on his Hovell stud, Burrumbuttock.
Rod Frohling, of Southern Riverina Sheep Breeders group, will host a RamSelect workshop on his Hovell stud, Burrumbuttock.

With the spring ram sale season underway, a RamSelect workshop has been geared to give regional prime lamb producers confidence in their ram buying decisions.

The Sheep CRC workshop, to be hosted by Rod and Ange Frohling, Hovell Poll Dorset, White Suffolk and Border Leicester stud, Burrumbuttock, on September 30 from 8am-3pm, will provide tools to help producers select rams to suit their individual enterprise.

RamSelect is a practical one day workshop to increase a ram buyer’s confidence to define their breeding objective, learn how to read and use Australian Sheep Breeding Values, discover how genomics are used in sheep studs and how they can benefit a commercial flock.

Participants also assess rams using objective figures and visual appraisal, prepare for future auctions or ram selection days, and learn how to invest in rams for production and profit.

The course is run by Goulburn Ovens Institute of Tafe under licence from the Sheep Co-operative Research Centre.

Presenters will be sheep consultant Stuart Warner, AGristology, Beechworth, and Gotafe industry trainer, Kevin White.

Mr Warner said producers would be equipped with skills to buy the right genes for production, quality and disease resistance.

He said buying rams was one of the biggest challenges faced by a sheep producer each year.

“I have been involved with the delivery of a number of these workshops over the last 12 months and the feedback is astounding,’’ Mr Warner said.

“They deliver real on farm change with participants leaving the workshop with a greater understanding of modern ram selection techniques.’’

Kevin White recently facilitated two RamSelect workshops in North East Victoria and takes producers through their enterprise objectives in relation to ram selection.

“If they are using a terminal production system, we will examine growth rate, fat cover and eye muscle depth combined with improved lambing percentages,’’ Mr White said.

“We do comparative value exercises for different enterprises so producers know how much extra they can potentially afford to pay for a ram.

“A ram audit is included so producers can plot the ASBVs of their current rams on a percentile band report, and compare these with sale rams.’’

Mr White said workshop feedback had been positive with the majority of participants able to better understand ASBVs in ram sale catalogues, increasing their confidence in ram buying decisions.

“Over the last two years, producers of all ages and with flocks of all breeds ranging from 100 to 25,000 ewes have attended RamSelect workshops,’’ he said.

A survey by Sheep CRC revealed on average 96 per cent of RamSelect participants said they understood how to make better use of ASBVs, with 85 per cent saying they would use ASBVs to help select rams the following year.

Morning tea and lunch will be provided. For further details call Rod Frohling on 0428 250 725.

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