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Sheepmeat Council : Sheepmeat 2015 2016
12 SHEEPMEAT COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA ANNUAL MUSTER 2015-16 Sheepmeat Industry Strategic Plan 2010-2015 Review /Achievements In 1990 the lamb industry was valued at $1.1 billion and only about 14% of product was exported. The first strategic plan for the industry was the 1995 Lamb Industry Strategic Plan with high level goals targeting an industry value of $2 billion by 2000. The subsequent industry revolution was market driven and underpinned by a program to identify, promote and create supply pathways for what consumers wanted, and an on-farm research and development (R&D) program focused on delivering. The industry has never looked back with successive plans each building on the success of the previous one. The gross value of Australian lamb and mutton production (including live exports) in 2014- 15 is estimated at $3.2 billion (ABARES Agricultural Commodities September 2015). Lamb exports reached 56% of production in 2015. The Sheepmeat Industry Strategic Plan (SISP) 2010-2015 was developed during 2009-2010 with a commitment to review progress in 2012. This was completed and the plan was modified where necessary when gaps were identified or there was recognition that there were significant changes in the operating environment since the development of the plan. The most obvious case of this related to the role of live exports and the changes that occurred in this sector with increased focus on improvement in animal welfare following the incidence of animal cruelty identified in cattle exported to Indonesia in 2011. SISP 2010-2015 had seven strategic themes each with stated objectives and activities focused on ensuring the continued sustainability and profitability of the sheepmeat industry. For example in Strategic theme I: Supply chain productivity, continued generation, refinement and extension of breeding value estimates through genetic and genomic research allowed the simultaneous improvement of lean meat yield (LMY) and eating quality (EQ). The number of producers using ASBVs to select their ram source increased from 11% to 18% and those making individual ram selections from 38% to 48% from 2011 to 2014. Faster genetic gain as a result estimated at $10m in 2014 alone. Other developments in this area included development of new genomic products such as the 12k SNP chip and parentage/ STRATEGIC ACHIEVEMENTS Until the early 1990s, a ‘fat lamb’ was a by-product of the wool industry, fluctuating in quality, receiving low prices and with an ‘old fashioned’ image that was unable to compete against other ‘modern’ protein sources such as chicken and pork. Bred Well Fed Well Bred Well Fed Well (BWFW) is a practical, one-day workshop which highlights the key production benefits of genetics, plus feed management for improved reproduction. The program started in 2011 and since then 3323 participants have attended 131 workshops across the country (Nov 2011 to June 30 2015). The BWFW workshops are a joint collaboration between AWI and MLA and are managed by Murdoch University. The objectives of the workshop are that participants will: • Recognise that Australian Sheep Breeding Values (ASBVs) are an important tool that can be used to improve their enterprise profitability; • Have the ability to start to develop a breeding objective for their enterprise; • Recognise the likely impacts of improving ewe nutrition on reproductive performance and flock profitability; and • Be able to complete a simple energy budget for their ewe flock. Following the workshop, participants were surveyed to see if the course met their needs. When asked if their understanding of the importance of ewe nutrition had improved 98% responded positively. One participant who really found this part of the workshop of value was Stephen Jarvis, who runs a 17-18 micron Merino flock at Boorowa in NSW. Mr Jarvis said since participating in the course last February he had become far more conscious of the importance of condition scoring his ewes. He said the course really helped him to understand the value of the feed in his paddock and how to estimate food on offer to ensure his ewes have the right nutrition to successfully carry and rear lambs as he strives to improve his lamb marking percentage from 110% to 120%. Following the course, Mr Jarvis bought rams using ASBVs to complement visual assessment when selecting rams. This was to improve his flock fertility and increase fleece weights from his current 6.5kg/hd whilst not compromising fibre diameter. Mr Jarvis is now doing a Lifetime Ewe Management course and recommends that producers attend these courses whenever they can. “It is really important that the courses have a good facilitator and the speakers are experienced and credible then you can always get a take home message. More producers really need to attend,” Mr Jarvis said.