YANCO Agricultural High School aims to educate young men and women in sheep production.
The school’s White Suffolk flock of 130 breeders was established in 2003 and has become an integral part of the curriculum.
Year 9 and 10 animal management is an elective subject that teaches students about sheep management and gives them first-hand involvement in the breeding decisions and husbandry activities, including selection of sires for the annual artificial insemination program, Lambplan scanning, pregnancy scanning, lambing, crutching and shearing.
Students also learn the theory behind ruminant nutrition and feed budgeting, pregnant ewe management and research breeding technologies and lamb marketing options.
This spring rams advertising feature is supported by these businesses.
The stud aims to produce good quality commercial rams suited to clients producing prime lambs for the trade market with a carcass weight of 18 to 24kg, with desirable performance figures for economically important traits such as growth, muscle and fat and a particular emphasis on meat eating quality through shear force and intramuscular fat.
Even though producers are not currently paid on meat eating quality, they believe it is integral to consumer satisfaction and demand for lamb.
Being on the forefront of technology and data collection in the industry is essential in educating students.
They have been using electronic identification tags for the past five years and utilising Matesel to assist with breeding selection decisions to improve performance whilst reducing coancestry.
All lambs are electronic tagged, blood sampled for DNA testing and weighed at birth, and the dams scored for maternal behaviour and lambing ease. Throughout each production cycle, weights, faecal egg counts and muscle and fat depth data are collected.
All older ewes are artificially inseminated and ewe lambs are yard mated at seven months of age to improve genetic gain.
In 2016, they undertook an embryo transfer program using elite donor ewes.
YAHS held its inaugural on-farm ram sale in September 2016, offering 40 rams by Helmsman auction and one ram by open-cry auction, led by a student, with the proceeds going to Careflight.
The sale was run by the students in conjunction with Breed and Hutchinson and and Elders Narrandera. They cleared 100 per cent of rams at an average of $893 and a double top price of $1500. All rams went to commercial producers.
The second annual Yanco White Suffolk performance ram sale will be conducted by students on Thursday, September 14, offering 36 performance White Suffolk rams.